Will Hiroshima become UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The Japanese city of Hiroshima, devastated by a World War II atomic bomb, has backed the granting of world heritage site status to the D-Day landing beaches in France, a local official said Wednesday. The support for the bid for the coveted status - granted by the UN culture and science body UNESCO - came from the mayor of Hiroshima during a visit there by president of the Lower Normandy region, Laurent Beauvais.

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Hiroshima Today
Beauvais, whose region is home to the beaches that saw the 1944 landings by Allied troops who went on to end Nazi rule in Europe, said in a statement that the support by Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui was a "message of hope and peace". The Lower Normandy region last year launched its bid to have five D-Day beaches listed as world heritage sites, and in June this year the newly-elected Socialist President Francois Hollande voiced his support. If the bid is successful, the beaches will join sites that mark a dramatic moment in human history.

These include the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, Robben Island in South Africa where opponents of the apartheid regime were jailed, and the memorial to peace in Hiroshima. The Normandy landings and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima each marked a major turning point in World War II.

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