Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama later this month, becoming the first Japanese leader to travel to the site of the attack on Hawaii 75 years ago that thrust the United States into World War II.
The joint visit comes after Obama went to Hiroshima with Abe in May, becoming the first sitting American president to visit the site where the United States dropped one of two atomic bombs in 1945 to force Japan’s surrender.
Abe said Monday that he will visit Hawaii on Dec. 26 and 27 to “pay tribute” to military personnel from both sides of the Pacific who died during the war.
“This visit is to comfort the souls of the victims. We’d like to send messages about the importance of reconciliation” between the two countries, Abe told reporters in Tokyo.
The 75th anniversary of the attack falls Wednesday.
The White House welcomed Abe’s decision, confirming that Obama would accompany Abe to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those killed.
“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,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said in a statement.
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