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Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe seeks reconciliation with US at Pearl Harbour

Dec 28, 2016 18:13 ISTSangeeta Krishnan

In a landmark moment, the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and President of the United States Barack Obama visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to offer condolences to the victims of the surprise Japanese bombing on US naval base 75 years ago.

The meeting of the two leaders at the memorial site was another move towards reconciliation.

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Key Highlights

• Both the leaders used the ceremony to encourage their citizens to reconcile and move forward.  
• Though Abe did not apologise for the attack, he did offer his most sincere and everlasting condolences to the victims and stated that Japan had taken a solemn vow to never wage a war ever again.
• Abe also visited the USS Arizona Memorial, which was built in 1962 in the memory of the American sailors and Marines who lay buried in the wreckage of the battleship, sunk by the Japanese during the attack.
• Both Abe and Obama sought to guide their citizens to embrace reconciliation and remembrance.
• Though Abe is not the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit the historic site, he is the first to do so with a US President and the first one to visit Arizona Memorial.
• The visit comes as a result of years of reconciliation efforts put in by all levels of governments on both sides.

The meeting comes at a time when Abe prepares to lead Japan into a new yet uncertain era and Barack Obama prepares to move out of the office and let the Republican President-Elect Donald Trump take over. It could possibly be Obama’s last meet with a foreign leader as the president of the United States of America.

About the attack on Pearl Harbour

• On 7 December 1941, an unsuspecting US Naval base at Pearl Harbor was bombarded by Japanese warplanes.
• Within just two hours, much of the US fleet had sunk, leaving over 2,400 sailors and soldiers dead.
• The attack propelled United States to enter World War II, which ended shortly after US dropped two atomic bombs on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing irreparable destruction.

In May 2016, President Barack Obama visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to offer his condolences to the victims of the devastating attack and called for a world without nuclear weapons. Obama was the first sitting President to visit the memorial site.

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