- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - A paper crane signed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe symbolizing peace and reconciliation between Japan and America will be featured at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center, according to National Park Service officials.

Last month, Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit the USS Arizona Memorial honoring sailors and Marines killed in the 1941 attack by Japan.

Both Abe and his wife, Akie, later signed paper cranes, which were presented to the park service along with thousands of others earlier this month, reported The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://bit.ly/2iOemUJ ).

The paper cranes were brought from Japan by Yuji Sasaki. His aunt, Sadako Sasaki, became internationally known after dying from leukemia at age 12, 10 years after the 1945 Hiroshima atom bomb blast. The young girl is known to have folded more than 1,000 cranes in hopes of surviving the disease.

One of her cranes was unveiled at the visitors’ center in 2013.

Yuji Sasaki handed over the paper cranes to the park service during an informal ceremony on Jan. 7, with Bishop Eric Matsumoto of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii presiding over the event.

Sasaki had asked several individuals and organizations in Japan to make paper cranes and received a response from Akie Abe, Matsumoto said.

“She folded a paper crane and contacted Yuji Sasaki and said that she wanted him to include this crane with the cranes that he was planning to bring over to Pearl Harbor,” Matsumoto said. He added that the prime minister folded his crane around the New Year’s holiday.

National Park Service Superintendent Jacqueline Ashwell said it will take some time to design and build an exhibit for the newly received paper cranes.

“The National Park Service is deeply honored to receive these cranes,” Ashwell said in an email. “They are a lasting tribute to Sadako Sasaki’s message of peace and her enduring legacy, and we are honored to share them with the world.”


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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