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  World   Asia  28 Dec 2016  Shinzo Abe’s Pearl Harbor pilgrimage to underscore ‘alliance of hope’

Shinzo Abe’s Pearl Harbor pilgrimage to underscore ‘alliance of hope’

Published : Dec 28, 2016, 3:53 am IST
Updated : Dec 28, 2016, 6:09 am IST

Abe and Obama will speak at Pearl Harbor to mark the historic occasion.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
 Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Honolulu: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe travels Tuesday to Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, the site of a sneak attack by his country that provoked America into entering World War II, to reinforce what the leader calls “the power of reconciliation.”

Mr Abe, who will be hosted by US President Barack Obama, would be the first Japanese premier to visit the wreckage of USS Arizona, which lost 1,177 crew members to the Japanese attack 75 years ago.


Mr Abe and Mr Obama will speak at Pearl Harbor to mark the historic occasion. Mr Abe will lay a wreath at the USS Arizona Memorial in a ceremony scheduled for 2110 GMT, and, in his speech, will stress the “alliance of hope” between the two countries. There will be no apology.

Mr Abe is the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit the memorial that honours sailors and marines killed in the 1941 attack, and the first to offer formal condolences.

Mr Obama paid a similar visit earlier this year to Hiroshima, where the US dropped the atomic bomb that ended World War II in 1945.

Previous Japanese Prime Ministers have visited the site, but “the two leaders’ visit will showcase the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies,” the White House said in a statement this month.


Japan’s former leader Shigeru Yoshida went to Pearl Harbor six years after the country’s surrender, but that was before the USS Arizona Memorial was built.

The meeting between the two leaders comes as Mr Abe prepares to lead Japan into uncharted waters, after incoming US President Donald Trump clouded the guiding stars of US-Japanese relations.

In eight years, Mr Obama — America’s Hawaiian-born first “Pacific President” — never made the headway he wanted in his vaunted “rebalance to Asia” diplomatic strategy.

But he and Mr Abe chose a telling spot to celebrate US-Japanese partnership, three-quarters of a century after the “day of infamy,” December 7, 1941.


The leaders will head by boat to the white-walled memorial positioned over the sunken vessel, still lying in the clear blue waters of the harbour.

Tags: world war ii, shinzo abe, barack obama