- Title: Japanese Prime Minister Abe to visit Pearl Harbor
- Date: 25th December 2016
- Summary: HIROSHIMA, JAPAN (MAY 27, 2016) (HOST BROADCASTER POOL) VARIOUS OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE WALKING TOWARDS HIROSHIMA PEACE MEMORIAL OBAMA RECEIVING A WREATH OBAMA LAYING THE WREATH IN FRONT OF THE MEMORIAL STATUE OBAMA HOLDING A MOMENT OF SILENCE ABE LAYING A WREATH IN FRONT OF THE MEMORIAL STATUE/BOWING ABE WALKING BACK ABE SHAKING HANDS WITH OBAMA
- Embargoed: 9th January 2017 14:33
- Keywords: Japan USA Pearl harbor atomic bomb Hiroshima
- Location: PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII, WASHINGTON, D.C. UNITED STATES AND HIROSHIMA JAPAN
- City: PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII, WASHINGTON, D.C. UNITED STATES AND HIROSHIMA JAPAN
- Country: USA
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0065EDS9JB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to use next week's visit to Pearl Harbor to send a message that the alliance between former foes Japan and the United States is firm and vital in an uncertain region.
Abe's Dec. 27 visit with President Barack Obama comes 75 years after the attack that thrust the United States into World War Two - and less than four weeks before Donald Trump becomes president.
When Obama in May made a historic visit to Hiroshima, target of the world's first atomic bombing, candidate Trump tweeted, "Does President Obama ever discuss the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor while he's in Japan? Thousands of American lives lost."
Sophia University professor Koichi Nakano said "not just Abe, but the whole foreign policy community in Japan, is desperate to send a message not just to the world, but to President-elect Trump, that the U.S.-Japan alliance is strong and can only get stronger."
Before the Nov. 8 election, Trump triggered concern with comments - since denied - on Japan possibly acquiring nuclear arms, demands to pay more to host U.S. forces or risk their withdrawal, and opposition to the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.
Abe last month became the first world leader to meet Trump after the election. Following their hastily-arranged meeting in New York, Abe called him a "trustworthy leader.
The weaker yen triggered by the billionaire property magnate's election has given Japan's economy a fillip by making exports cheaper. And Softbank Group founder Masayoshi Son has visited Trump to pledge a $50 billion investment to create U.S. jobs.
Still, many Americans and Japanese worry future ties will fray. A December Gallup-Yomiuri newspaper poll showed 41 percent of Japanese think relations will worsen. Forty percent in the United States agreed, both up sharply from last year.
The two nations, however, have largely put the war behind them and the alliance has tightened under Abe.
In contrast, the wartime legacy still plagues Japan's relations with China and South Korea.
Abe will not apologise for the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 that killed more than 2,000 military personnel, a government spokesman has said, a step that would irk his conservative base. Nor did Obama apologise for the U.S. atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.
The Pearl Harbor visit will "express the value of reconciliation between Japan and the United States", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said this month.
Abe will be the first Japanese incumbent premier at Pearl Harbor since a brief 1951 stopover by Shigeru Yoshida.
As the United States prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor on Wednesday (December 7), WWII veterans and survivors of the attack began arriving in Honolulu on Monday (December 5) ahead of the official memorial ceremony.
The attack on the U.S. naval base in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, shook a country that had been so focused on the war in Europe that it had lost sight of the threat posed by Japan, according to historians.
The attack, launched to destroy the U.S. Pacific fleet and with the aim of keeping the United States out of the war, took 2,390 American lives.
"I think this is a great honor and I'm proud to be here," said WWII veteran Art Staymates, as he was welcomed in Honolulu with hugs, a naval band and hula dancers.
"I'm very overwhelmed and very excited to be here and I just can't believe it," added Arthur Ken Allred, another WWII veteran.
Hollywood star Gary Sinise traveled with the WWII veterans and Pearl Harbor survivors on the charter flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Monday.
"We can't take that for granted. What they did here, and during WWII, all those many years ago is ... we continue to benefit from that," said the actor, who will take part in a performance to mark the occasion on Waikiki with his band on Wednesday.
The 75th anniversary comes in the wake of an announcement on Monday (December 5) that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor this month with U.S. President Barack Obama, becoming his country's first leader to travel to the site of the Japanese attack that drew the United States into World War Two.
The Dec. 26-27 visit will come seven months after Obama became the first serving U.S. president to visit the Japanese city of Hiroshima, on which the United States dropped an atomic bomb in the closing days of the war, in 1945.
Abe's top aide said on Tuesday that the Japanese premier's visit will not be to apologize for the Japanese attack.
Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor with torpedo planes, bombers and fighter planes on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, bombing the U.S. fleet moored there in the hope of destroying U.S. power in the Pacific.
The attack led to the United States entering World War Two and the eventual defeat of Japan in August 1945, days after U.S. atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.
The White House said Abe's visit would highlight the alliance between the former wartime enemies.
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