Ja­pan’s Abe de­parts for visit to Pearl Har­bour

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

TOKYO: Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe de­parted yes­ter­day for Hawaii where he will visit Pearl Har­bour with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama as the two coun­tries high­light decades of post-World War II rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. Abe’s visit to the site, which was bombed by Ja­pan in a sur­prise at­tack in De­cem­ber 1941 that drew the United States into World World II, was an­nounced ear­lier this month.

It fol­lows a jour­ney Obama made with him in May to the city of Hiroshima where a US plane dropped the world’s first atom bomb as the war drew to a close in 1945.

“I am vis­it­ing Pearl Har­bor in Hawaii to com­mem­o­rate vic­tims as the prime min­is­ter of Ja­pan, as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ja­panese peo­ple,” Abe told re­porters at Tokyo’s Haneda air­port. “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.”

The two lead­ers hope that their joint vis­its will un­der­score the al­liance be­tween their two na­tions forged in the years fol­low­ing the war. They will meet Tues­day in Honolulu for a sum­mit be­fore ven­tur­ing to­gether to Pearl Har­bour to visit the wreck of the USS Ari­zona, where 1,177 sailors and Marines died. The ship’s rust­ing re­mains are now a me­mo­rial.

The two-hour at­tack killed 2,403 Amer­i­cans in all, in­jured more than 1,100 others and sank or heav­ily dam­aged eight US bat­tle­ships. Of­fi­cials have said that the pur­pose of Abe’s visit is not to apol­o­gize but rather to pay homage to the vic­tims and en­cour­age his­tor­i­cal re­flec­tion, as Obama did in Hiroshima. It also comes at a del­i­cate time with Obama due to hand over power to US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump next month.

The New York real-es­tate mag­nate sent shock­waves through Ja­pan dur­ing the cam­paign when he ap­peared to ques­tion the US-Ja­pan se­cu­rity al­liance. He said that Ja­pan should pay more to sup­port US troops sta­tioned in the coun­try and could even con­sider de­vel­op­ing its own nu­clear weapons.

Though he later walked back on the com­ments, they jolted pub­lic opin­ion in the world’s only coun­try to ever be at­tacked with atomic bombs.

Abe be­came the first world leader to meet Trump af­ter the elec­tion, rush­ing to New York to con­firm the im­por­tance of the re­la­tion­ship. —AFP

TOKYO: Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe (cen­ter) speaks to re­porters be­fore de­par­ture for Hawaii at Tokyo’s Haneda air­port yes­ter­day. Abe de­parted yes­ter­day for Hawaii where he will visit Pearl Har­bor with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama as the two coun­tries high­light decades of postWorld War II rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. —AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.