The G7 foreign ministers have begun talks in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, with John Kerry becoming the first US secretary of state to visit the atom-bombed city. North Korea's nuclear belligerence is on the agenda.
Terrorism, nuclear disarmament and maritime security are among the topics that the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations are discussing in the western Japanese city on the first of two days of meetings on Sunday.
Britain, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy and the United States form the grouping.
The Hiroshima meeting comes amid increasing tension on the Korean peninsula in relation to the communistNorth Korea's nuclear ambitions,
and China's military aggression in the South China Sea.
"I hope that a strong message of peace, stability and prosperity will be sent out to the world at the Hiroshima G7 foreign ministers' meeting," Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said.German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
missed the Sunday talks due to a delay in his arrival.
Kishida emphasized that the conference was being held in Hiroshima, a city devastated by the US atomic bombing in 1945, to send out a message against nuclear weapons.
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived earlier Sunday at a US military base in Hiroshima.He had flown from Afghanistan,
briefly stopping over in Iraq and Bahrain.
Kerry and other G7 foreign ministers are scheduled to visit the Hiroshima Memorial Park and an accompanying museum showcasing the horrors of the American bombing on August 6, 1945. The nuclear attack killed 140,000 people in Hiroshima. Another blast in Nagasaki killed some 74,000 people.
The two-day Hiroshima meeting is a run-up to the annual G7 summit, which will be held on May 26-27 in Japan's Ise-Shima region near Tokyo.
US President Barack Obama is expected to visit Hiroshima during the May conference.