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Japanese leader Abe to visit Pearl Harbor with Obama

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Sailors worked to repair the floating dock next to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor in June 2015, after the USNS Mercy hospital ship struck the memorial’s dock in May as it was leaving Pearl Harbor.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Barack Obama, right, talked with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after they joined leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) for a group photo in Lima, Peru on Nov. 20. Abe said Monday, he will visit Pearl Harbor with Obama at the end of this month, becoming the first leader of his country to go to the U.S. Naval base in Hawaii that Japan attacked in 1941, propelling the United States into World War II.

TOKYO » Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor with U.S. President Barack Obama at the end of this month, becoming the first leader of his country to go to the site of the Japanese attack that propelled the United States into World War II.

Monday’s unexpected announcement came two days before the 75th anniversary of the attack and six months after Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the memorial in Hiroshima for victims of the U.S. atomic bombing of that city at the end of the same war.

Abe, in a brief statement to reporters, said he would visit Hawaii on Dec. 26 and 27 to pray for the war dead at the naval base at Pearl Harbor and to hold a final summit meeting with Obama before the latter’s presidency ends.

“We must never repeat the tragedy of the war,” he said. “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 confirmed a meeting in Hawaii on Dec. 27, saying “the two leaders’ visit will showcase the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies, united by common interests and shared values.”

More than 2,300 U.S. servicemen died in the aerial attack, which will be marked Wednesday by a remembrance ceremony and a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., when the Japanese planes hit their first target.

Three and a half years later, the war came to an end after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and on the city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. Japan surrendered six days later.

Obama’s decision to visit Hiroshima in May divided Americans and was broadly welcomed in Japan. Abe said Monday that Obama’s message aiming for a world without nuclear weapons still touches the hearts of many Japanese.

In the seven decades since the war, the United States and Japan have become staunch allies in one of the more remarkable turnarounds of former enemies in world history.

“Our talks in Hawaii will be a chance to show the rest of the world our ever stronger alliance in the future,” Abe said.

The announcement of the summit comes as Japan worries about the direction of U.S. foreign policy under Obama’s successor, Donald Trump.

There were mixed reactions to the timing of Abe’s Pearl Harbor visit.

Together with Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, it will complete the reconciliation process and help smooth bilateral relations under any administration, said Tsuneo Watanabe, a senior research fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. “Historical disputes tend to be brought up when relations become thorny … but once you put them behind and move on, it makes a difference if there is any negative sentiment in the future,” he said.

But Koichi Nakano, a professor of international politics at Tokyo’s Sophia University, said Abe’s Pearl Harbor visit and his commitment to the Japan-U.S. alliance in the future are tantamount to “giving a blank check to Trump” despite the uncertainty over bilateral relations under his administration.

The president-elect said during the campaign that Japan and other allies should contribute more to the cost of stationing U.S. troops in their countries. About 50,000 American troops are based in Japan.

Abe met with Trump in New York last month. He wouldn’t disclose details, but said that Trump is a leader he can have great confidence in.

Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo and Josh Lederman in Washington, D.C., contributed to this story.

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      • Such an intelligent statement. So much better to get news from Fox or Rush. There you can learn that there is nothing to worry about global warming and the way to balance the budget is to increase wasteful government spending while reducing revenue. Sure worked under that republican hero G W Bush.

        • Not to forget that we should admire Trump for “putting to rest” the birther theory [after some ldiot started it and shouted it out for years, and then tried to blame it on his opponent]. Talk about Greatness!

      • Obama is so dignified. He and Michelle and the girls were a scandal-free superb White House couple. We are all proud of them. What a horrible comedown with Trump. He is so poorly educated and exercises such bad judgment.

    • The textbook low information voter speaks out. Barry Hussein is the nation’s first affirmative action chief executive. Not much more then a rabble rouser with a Harvard degree. He had a resume that maybe would have qualified him for a low level political staff job. His incompetence and penchant for divide and conquer politics contributed mightily to Waldo Clintons spanking by the Trumpster.

      • lol, but you left out that under his presidency, the stock market went from a low of under 7,000 to now over 18,000. We shall see how it does under the Donald with his policies of welfare for the rich. Of course the Donald loves to bribe companies to leave a few employees in the US like Carrier. Hope the tax payers of Indiana are happy.

        • If you are going to quote financial data like the stock market you need to put it in context. Any first year economics student knows that when the national debt goes from 5 trillion to 20 trillion investments are going to move into the private sector. Our next president is going to inherit a disaster, no thanks to Barry and his republican congress.

        • Dow at 18000 is good for the well heeled investor class. Not so much for hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck working families. Seems like the little guy has been left out of Barry Hussein’s economic success.

        • Boots who are the ones benefiting from the stock market rally? Definitely NOT the working folks the libs like to champion during election time and definitely NOT the welfare w#ores who felt they are entitled to hard working American’s tax dollars in the form of social programs. If you have not heard the figures yet, more people are getting social programs than ever, thanks to your buddy who wrote laws left and right as if he is a dictator. Our government have three branches if you did not know–the legislative as the name implies makes they legislate and make laws, the executive branch execute/enforce those laws, and the judicial interpret those laws whether they are constitutional or not.

      • I voted for Mr Obama twice and I hate to say it, but yes, he was not qualified to be Commander in Chief. He seemed to be in over his head when it came to certain, key issues. You see, that is what separates a mid-level manager from a CEO. A true leader I a visionary and understands his/her limitations. How does one compensate for this? By surrounding oneself with extremely talented, bright and experienced individuals. That is how Steve Jobs did it. You surround yourself with the best and brightest and results are sure to happen.

        • I guess what you’re trying to say is that you hope Trump surrounds himself with extremely talented, bright and experience individuals to compensate for his “limitations.”

  • Of course the timing of the visit comes during Obama’s annual vacation which takes precedence over the actual anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Anyone with common sense can see right through his thick skin of selfishness.

  • Abe to Obama: “I’d like to visit Pearl Harbor on the 75th anniversary of the bombing, to make nice and give one of those 50 different highly nuanced Japanese language non-apology apologies.”

    Obama: “Well, OK, but don’t expect me to meet you there unless you come when I’m already gonna be there anyway for my regular Christmas golf vacation. The 75th anniversary of the bombing doesn’t matter to me as much as golf and shave ice, but I’ll take an hour out of my annual vacation so I’ll have good pics for my legacy scrapbook.”

  • Something like this is a big deal and a fitting way to end Obama’s 8 years in office. If anybody else was in office, there was no way Abe would even consider visiting Pearl Harbor.

    • I’m really only guessing, but it COULD be a cultural thing. In Japanese culture, they have a thing about a return gift, visit or favor. Ever give a Japanese family something like maybe a fish you caught or maybe some extra food from your party? Soon after, if not the next day, the Japanese family will return something to you like a small snack or fruit, but something worth a little less than the gift you gave. It’s called “okaeshi.” The same is true for visits or favors. If you go to their child’s graduation, they will feel obligated to go to YOUR child’s graduation. So, Abe may be feeling that since Obama visited Hiroshima, he should visit Pearl Harbor.

  • I thought the Japanese wanted U.S. troops out of Japan, especially in Okinawa and around Atsugi Air Base, Tokyo. So under the Trump administration, I can see U.S. presence in Japan and Korea being reduced significantly.

    • Allie “sees” Prez Trump through Madonna colored eyes. Why cannot both Pres O and Pres T be respected equally? Surely Pres O’s skin color is at least equal to the billions of dollars the T family controls without being criminals, like the Clintons. I have to add, when visiting the Trump casinos in A City back in the day to do business, man on man, did he employ a lot of people at nice wages. I don’t think the O family has ever employed a single person with their own money, right?

      American troops out of Japan – that was an Inouye deal involving construction contracts on Guam for his cronies. It fell through when other senators pulled the plug.

      • Your comparison on O and T hiring people is dumb. T was born with $$. O was not. T went bankrupt, O did not. T was married 3 times, O just one and only. Oh well, just a myth.

  • Bye Bye Obama to your legacy and agenda. He will be known as one of the worse Presidents of the United States. Cant wait till Trump starts to dismantle the mess that Obama
    created. This will be his last paid Hawaiian vacation. He will have to go on vacation in his hometown of Chicago from now on.

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