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Japan’s Prime Minister Visits Pearl Harbor With President Barack Obama

Publish Time 2016-12-28 12:26:00 Update Time 2016-12-28 12:36:00


U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic and somber visit to Pearl Harbor on Tuesday to pay homage to the victims of Japan’s 1941 bombing here, which killed more than 2,400 Americans and drew the U.S. into World War II.

The leaders each laid a wreath of peace lilies at the wall of the USS Arizona memorial that is etched with the names of the fallen U.S. service members and tossed Hawaiian orchids into the waters above the sunken vessel.

It marked the first appearance of a sitting Japanese prime minister at the memorial and was the companion visit to one Mr. Obama made in May to the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which was the first by a sitting U.S. president.

Mr. Abe struck a theme in his remarks similar to Mr. Obama’s in Hiroshima—acknowledging the suffering from Japan’s surprise attack and calling Pearl Harbor a symbol of reconciliation between the two countries, but stopping short of an apology.

“Rest in peace precious souls of the fallen,” Mr. Abe said, standing alongside Mr. Obama on a pier across from the USS Arizona. “As the prime minister of Japan, I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls who lost their lives here,” he said. “We must never repeat the horrors of war again.”

Mr. Obama thanked Mr. Abe for his presence, calling it a “historic gesture” that “speaks to the power of reconciliation.” “Our alliance has never been stronger,” Mr. Obama said, calling Pearl Harbor “a sacred place” for Americans. “I hope that together we send a message to the world that there is more to be won in peace than in war,” Mr. Obama said.

The joint visits of the U.S. and Japanese leaders to memorials for each country to some of the most searing events of World War II took place during the 75th anniversary year of the Pearl Harbor attack.

During his visit to Hiroshima, Mr. Obama mourned the victims of America’s 1945 atomic bombing of Japan at the memorial honoring those who died. The U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed more than 100,000 people, were followed shortly by Japan’s surrender.

 


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