Issues

Taxpayers Billed $313,804 for Obama’s Hiroshima Speech

Obama delivered a speech calling for a 'world without nuclear weapons'

Hiroshima
/ AP

Taxpayers were billed more than $300,000 for costs associated with President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, Japan, to deliver a speech calling for a "world without nuclear weapons" at the site of the atomic bomb attack that ended the Second World War.

The tab includes $134,569 for accommodations for a foreign ministers meeting for the G7 summit in Hiroshima, $5,487 to rent a conference room, and $7,002 for "POTUS working space" in the Grand Prince Hotel.

Contracts for hotel rooms include $15,251 at the Rihga Royal Hotel and $36,241 at the Grand Prince. Rooms for the Secret Service cost $3,625, and another conference room was booked for $4,164.

Numerous contracts were signed for the president’s motorcade, including $19,340 for transportation in Hiroshima, and several "urgent" contracts signed last month, costing taxpayers $19,175, $19,103, and $7,123. Trucks were also rented for the trip, costing $4,025.

A press filing center cost $23,242, telecommunication cabling work cost $5,500, and interpreter services cost $9,957.

Obama was in Hiroshima for less than four hours, marking the first visit by a U.S. president to the site of the atomic bomb attack, which ended the war that had cost over 60 million lives. President Harry Truman believed dropping the bomb saved 500,000 American lives from an invasion of Japan, and others have estimated the atomic bomb saved millions of American and Japanese lives.

The president’s speech made no mention of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, nor did he attempt to differentiate between the Axis and Allied forces. Obama generally commented that the "war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest."

Described by critics as full of "moral equivalence," the president called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons during the speech, and for the United States to "chart a course that leads to the destruction" of its nuclear stockpiles.