- The Washington Times - Monday, December 5, 2016

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama later this month, becoming the first Japanese leader to visit the site of the attack 75 years ago that killed more than 2,300 U.S. servicemen and thrust the U.S. into World War II.

Mr. Abe announced the visit Monday, six months after Mr. Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, where U.S. forces dropped an atomic bomb that hastened Japan’s surrender to end the war.

The president’s visit to Hiroshima was criticized by many in the U.S. as amounting to an apology, though Mr. Obama did not formally apologize for the bombing.

Mr. Abe said he will visit Hawaii on Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 to pray for the war dead at the naval base at Pearl Harbor and to hold a final summit with Mr. Obama before the president leaves office on Jan. 20.

“We must never repeat the tragedy of the war,” Mr. Abe told reporters. “I would like to send this commitment. At the same time, I would like to send a message of reconciliation between Japan and the U.S.”

The White House said the visit will showcase “the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies, united by common interests and shared values.”

The 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack is on Wednesday.

The developing summit in Hawaii comes as Japanese leaders are expressing concern about President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy plans, including his comments that allies such as Japan should help pay for the cost of stationing U.S. troops in their countries.

Mr. Abe was the first foreign leader to meet with Mr. Trump in New York after the election. He rejected reports Monday that the Obama administration discouraged him from meeting with the president-elect.

“The report is absolutely incorrect,” Mr. Abe said. “We were in touch with the Obama administration about my meeting with the president-elect, and it was our stance from the very beginning that the meeting must not look as if that there were two presidents existing in the U.S.”


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