Historic Japan’s PM Visit to Pearl Harbor

Ngebray.com,- Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe made a historic visit to Pearl Harbor along with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, December 27th, 2016. He stood in front of the audiences and delivered his speech. “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, and also to the souls of the countless people who became victims of the war.”

Abe’s Speech in Pearl Harbor (Picture from upi.com)

Abe’s Speech in Pearl Harbor (Picture from upi.com)

The Pearl Harbor ceremony is the latest diplomatic outreach by Abe to former war foes over the last few year. Late last year, Japan agreed to a settlement on a dispute with South Korea over Korean women used as forced prostitutes by the Imperial Japanese Army. Abe has sought to settle other war-related disputes, including a territorial issue with Russia. Experts say Abe’s strategy is driven by rising economic and security challenges, including emerging military threats from China and North Korea. The single most important relationship for Japan is with the US, its military ally and major trading partner. But after Donald Trump’s election as the next US President, many in Japan have been anxious about the strength of those ties. During his campaign, Trump characterized Japan as a trade adversary that unfairly benefits from US military protection. As Trump said, “The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense.”

One poll earlier this month showed that around 40% of Japanese expect US-Japan ties to worsen. That is the highest level since the annual survey began in 2004. While experts caution that Trump’s policy choises could yet generate friction with Japan, several said war reconciliation would help future cooperation. Japanese officials say Abe is looking to press home a message of cooperation by seeking talks with Trump soon after his January 20th inauguration.