Abe’s Pearl Harbor Tribute Shows the World Results of US-Japan Reconciliation

On Dec. 26 and 27, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Hawaii, and in addition to meeting with President Obama, he will also honor the victims of Pearl Harbor, the attack that started the war between Japan and the United States.

Abe will be the first sitting prime minister to formally visit Pearl Harbor. Seventy-five years after the war, this has finally been realized.

In May of this year, Obama became the first sitting president to visit the site of the Hiroshima bombing. I would like to think about the meaning of Abe visiting Pearl Harbor in conjunction with Obama’s visit to Hiroshima.

Japan and the U.S. have both healed their wartime wounds, overcome mutual distrust, and have maintained an effort to build a future-oriented, cooperative relationship.

Both leaders are paying their respects at sites that symbolize the beginning and end of the war. This is extremely significant and ranks as the high point of their efforts. These visits are the result of two nations that once exchanged terrible blows but are now achieving a historic reconciliation – broadcasting this as a model to the world has a huge effect.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was elected to office in November, and the U.S. is in a period of transition as it prepares to inaugurate a new administration this coming January. There is no guarantee that Trump, who sees the Japan-U.S. alliance as “unfair,” will treat this relationship with the same importance that the current administration has.

It’s also likely that Abe is visiting Pearl Harbor to impress upon American citizens the strength of the Japan-U.S. bond before the new Trump administration begins, as well as to maintain the balance of their countries’ relationship.

There is a deep-seated public belief in America that the atomic bomb strikes were needed to end the war. Obama’s visit to Hiroshima was a decision burdened with the risk of receiving domestic backlash. I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of the Abe administration’s diplomacy, which navigated the many opinions surrounding the war and carefully followed procedure in order to realize these mutual visits.

It appears as though Abe will deliver some sort of a message along with his memorial tribute. Japan’s previous leadership made the worst possible choice, called “war.” I hope Abe will face this historical truth head-on and speak openly on this reflection. Only then will a vow to “never repeat the horrors of war” have persuasive power.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply