Saturday 23 September 2017

Japanese PM Abe to visit Pearl Harbour memorial to pay his respects

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lays a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu. Photo: Hugh Gentry/Reuters
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lays a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu. Photo: Hugh Gentry/Reuters

David Lawler

Seventy-five years after the attack that killed 2,403 Americans and prompted the US to enter World War II, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbour today along with President Barack Obama.

Mr Abe will be the first Japanese leader to make a public visit to the memorial for those killed in the attack, and the first to visit Pearl Harbour since 1951.

Other Japanese officials, including Emperor Akihito, had contemplated visiting the naval base in Hawaii but decided against it after opposition from Japanese nationalists. Mr Abe said he was making the visit in order to "commemorate victims as the representative of the Japanese people".

"We must not repeat the horror of war ever again.

"Together with president Obama, I would like to express to the world this pledge for the future and the value of reconciliation," he said as he left Tokyo.

The visit follows Mr Obama's historic trip earlier this year to Hiroshima, where at least 90,000 died after the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city on August 6, 1945.

Mr Abe will not apologise for the attack but will, like Mr Obama at Hiroshima, pay his respects to the victims and encourage reflection.

The two men will visit the wreck of the USS Arizona, where 1,177 sailors and marines died when the battleship was sunk.

There was less uproar than might have been expected when Mr Abe announced he would be making the visit, in part because he has close ties to the nationalist groups who had objected in the past. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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