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Obama at Hiroshima Raises Profile of Possible Abe Successor

  • Visit a key achievement for Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
  • Kishida leads party faction vying for leadership role post-Abe
U.S. President Barack Obama offers a wreath at the cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, on Friday, May 27, 2016.

U.S. President Barack Obama offers a wreath at the cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, on Friday, May 27, 2016.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
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When U.S. President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima peace memorial on Friday to honor the 140,000 victims of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, one of the Japanese city’s best-known native sons was standing nearby -- and in a position to take credit for arranging the historic event.

For Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to the site marked a high-point of more than 20 years in politics. Kishida is widely seen as a possible successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his role in laying the groundwork for the ceremony will further raise his profile in a country where polls showed the vast majority of voters favored the visit.