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Japanese Prime Minister To Make Unprecedented Visit To Pearl Harbor

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Japan’s prime minister will make an unprecedented trip to Pearl Harbor later in December, according to multiple reports.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will become the first sitting prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor, where Japan conducted a surprise attack against U.S. forces 75 years ago, drawing the U.S. into the Second World War.

Japan launched an assault on the naval base on Dec. 7, 1941, killing around 2,300 Americans.

The attack was carried out by bombers and fighters deployed from Japanese carriers secretly deployed within striking distance of Hawaii. In addition to killing U.S. servicemen, Japanese forces also destroyed several U.S. warships.

The prime minister announced in a televised press conference Monday that he will visit the base with President Barack Obama on Dec. 27.

The visit follows Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima May 27. The U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 killing an estimated 150,000 people.

“President Obama’s message for the world without nuclear upon his visit to Hiroshima was engraved in the heart of the Japanese people,” Abe explained.

“I will visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama. This will be a visit to soothe the souls of the victims.”

“We must never repeat the tragedy of the war. 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,” he added.

The White House reportedly said the visit will “showcase the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies, united by common interests and shared values.”

Obama and Abe will pray for the dead.

“It’s quite significant — like so many things in any nation’s past, a recognition of its occurrence is the first step in terms of creating something new to ensure it never happens again,” Tokyo-based Asia Strategy founder Keith Henry told CNN.

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