Several local news outlets noted the contrast between the occasion and Mr. Abe’s remarks, as did supporters of Japan’s increasingly beleaguered peace movement.
“What a thoughtless thing to say in Hiroshima!” said one Twitter user, whose handle translated to “Peace is Number One.”
Many experts have questioned whether pre-emptive strikes on North Korean installations would be effective, given that Pyongyang takes countermeasures like keeping its missiles mobile or hiding them deep underground.
But that has not stopped some Japanese from arguing that their country should at least have the option to try.
As a treaty ally of the United States, Japan relies for its defense on the deterrent power of the Americans’ vast arsenal, including the aircraft carriers, Tomahawk missiles and nuclear weapons that Japan does not possess. That ambivalent stance — rejecting such weapons for itself but approving their deployment by the United States — has also created political friction.