Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe became the Japan’s first prime minister in office to visit the USS Arizona Memorial to Pearl Harbour in Honolulu. Mr Abe was accompanied by US President Barack Obama, who was born in the town Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii.
The attack on Pearl Harbour moved the Unites States to war during World War II. Over 2,400 Americans died as a result of the attack. The Guardian quoted Mr Abe to state:
“As the prime minister of Japan, I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place … We must never repeat the horrors of war again. We, the people of Japan, will continue to uphold this unwavering principle, while harbouring quiet pride in the path we have walked as a peace-loving nation over these 70 years since the war ended.”
This past May President Barack Obama was the first US president in office to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. In these historic moves, both Mr Obama & Mr Abe were careful not to state an official apology but to speak of there present alliance, rapprochement and optimism for the future.
A veteran who served in the Navy at the time of the Pearl Harbour attack on December 7, 1941, Sterling Cale recalled the attack and expressed his approval of the presence of Prime Minister Abe. Brad Glosserman of Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies also recognised Mr Abe’s visit as significant and a strong positive, made suggestion that Japan must also extend an olive branch to China, Korea and neighbours in Asia. Mr Glosserman is quoted to have said, Japan must make similar gestures to neighbouring Asian nations if they are to “play the role to which it aspires in Asia and the world.”
Mr Abe is quoted to have said while a member of The House Of Representatives in 1997, “Many so-called victims of comfort women system are liars…prostitution was ordinary behaviour in Korea because the country had many brothels.”
Temple University’s director of Asian Studies Jeffrey Kingston is quoted by Reuters to have stated:
“If he really is sincere about reconciliation diplomacy and overcoming lingering enmities he needs to visit similar symbolic sights (in China and Korea) and make similar remarks of remorse that are more specific about Japan’s responsibility”