U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will visit atomic-bombed Hiroshima this weekend, a Japanese government source said Wednesday, amid growing fears Russia could use nuclear weapons in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Emanuel, once a top aide to former President Barack Obama, who visited Hiroshima in 2016, and Kishida, a lawmaker representing a constituency in the city, will offer prayers and flowers to those who suffered the U.S. atomic bombing in 1945, at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Saturday, according to the source.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) and new U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel meet at the premier's office in Tokyo on Feb. 4, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

They are expected to underscore the unity of the two countries in opposing any move by Russia to use nuclear weapons in its invasion of Ukraine since Feb. 24, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has hinted at using them in the face of Ukraine's resistance and severe economic sanctions from Western nations.

Emanuel expressed his desire to visit the western Japan city when he first met Kishida, an advocate of a world free of nuclear weapons, in February as the envoy to Japan.

As a foreign minister, Kishida played an active role in realizing Obama's historic visit to Hiroshima as the first sitting U.S. president to do so. Emanuel and Kishida will also go to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Minoru Terada, a special advisor to Kishida on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, whose mother endured the atomic bombing, is planning to accompany them during the visit, according to the source.

Kishida is also considering exchanging views with young people who have been promoting efforts toward nuclear abolition in Hiroshima, the source said.

Their visit to Hiroshima was initially scheduled for Feb. 26 but was postponed following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which necessitated that Kishida remain in Tokyo.

In January, the Japanese and the U.S. governments issued a joint statement in which they urged world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the other city destroyed by a U.S. atomic bomb in World War II, to "raise and sustain awareness."

Related coverage:

Mayors request Biden visit Hiroshima, Nagasaki

PM Kishida to forgo Hiroshima trip with U.S. envoy amid Ukraine crisis

U.S. ambassador to Japan arranging visit to Hiroshima next week