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Monday, December 26, 2016, 13:45

Abe to send message Japan won't repeat war atrocities

By Agencies

Abe to send message Japan won't repeat war atrocities
In this June 3, 2015 photo released by the US Navy, sailors work to repair the floating dock next to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, after the USNS Mercy hospital ship struck the memorial's dock in May as it was leaving Pearl Harbor. (Laurie Dexter/The US Navy via AP)

TOKYO – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday he wants to send a message to the world during his visit to Pearl Harbor that Japan will never repeat the atrocities of past wars.

I hope this visit will be a historical one with leaders of Japan and the United States jointly visiting Pearl Harbor in a show of reconciliation

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, Japan

"The alliance between Japan and the United States is one with hope in dealing with various problems in the world," Abe said in a speech to the Japanese business lobby Keidanren.

"I hope this visit will be a historical one with leaders of Japan and the United States jointly visiting Pearl Harbor in a show of reconciliation," he said.

Abe's Dec 27 visit to Pearl Harbor with President Barack Obama comes 75 years after the attack that thrust the United States into World War Two.

Abe will be the first leader of his country to go to the US Naval base in Hawaii attacked by Japan in 1941.

The Dec 5 unexpected announcement came two days before the 75th anniversary of the attack and six months after Obama became the first sitting US president to visit the memorial in Hiroshima for victims of the US atomic bombing of that city at the end of the same war.

"We must never repeat the tragedy of the war," Abe said that day. "I would like to send this commitment. At the same time, I would like to send a message of reconciliation between Japan and the US."

Confirming a meeting in Hawaii on Dec 27, the White House said "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."

Over 2,300 US servicemen died in the aerial attack when the Japanese planes hit their first target.

Abe to send message Japan won't repeat war atrocities
In this May 27, 2016 photo, US President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan. Abe said on 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 US Naval base in Hawaii that Japan attacked in 1941, propelling the United States into World War II. Atomic Bomb Dome is seen in the background. (Carolyn Kaster / AP)

Three and a half years later, the war came to an end after the US 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.

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