H.E Shinzo Abe to become first Japanese Leader to visit Pearl Harbour

Public Opinions International
WASHINGTON DC, 6th December 2016

Shinzo Abe will become the first sitting Japanese prime minister to visit Pearl Harbour, he said on Monday, announcing his plans to journey to the site of the attack that drew the United States into World War Two. 

Mr Abe said in a news conference that he and President Barack Obama will later this month travel to the the naval base decimated by his country's air raids 75-years ago,

"This will be a visit to console the souls of the victims," he said. "I would like to show to the world the resolve that horrors of war should never be repeated."

Mr Abe will hold his final summit meeting with the outgoing US president during the trip to Hawaii, Mr Obama's birthplace. 

The visit on the 26th and 27th December will come seven months after Mr Obama became the first serving American president to visit the Japanese city of Hiroshima, on which the US dropped an atomic bomb in the closing days of the war in 1945.

The White House said Mr Abe's visit would highlight the alliance between the former wartime enemies.

"The two leaders' visit will showcase the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies, united by common interests and shared values," a statement read. 

Mr Abe spoke to the US congress last year and expressed "deep repentance" over Japan's role in World War Two.

Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor with torpedo planes, bombers and fighter planes on the morning of 7th December 1941, incinerating the American fleet moored there. They hoped to destroy US power in the Pacific.

The attack Led to a stunned Washington entering World War Two. Japan was defeated in August 1945 after the US dropped atomic bombs Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and devastating the regions for decades to come. 

During his visit to Hiroshima, Mr Obama reiterated his commitment to pursuing a world without nuclear weapons, while avoiding any direct expression of remorse or apology for the nuclear bombings.

Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University's Japan campus told Reuters that an outright apology from  Mr Abe would be unlikely during his Pearl Harbor visit.

"I think Mr Abe wants to draw a line under history and move forward with President-elect Donald Trump and get some difficult obstacles out of the way. It's probably an astute move on Abe's part," he said.


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