Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor later this month, the White House announced early Monday, becoming the first Japanese leader to visit the site of the attack.

{mosads}President Obama will meet with Abe in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Dec. 27.

Obama will also accompany Abe to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those killed, 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,” spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Earnest added that the meeting will be an opportunity for the two leaders to review joint efforts over the past four years to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, including a number of security, economic and global challenges.

Abe said in a statement that his talks with the president in Hawaii will be “a chance to show the rest of the world our ever stronger alliance in the future.” 

“We must never repeat the tragedy of the war,” he told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

“I would like to send this commitment. At the same time, I would like to send a message of reconciliation between Japan and the U.S.”

In May, Abe said he “wholeheartedly” welcomed Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, expressing hope it would renew a focus on eliminating the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.

But Abe said at the time he had no plans to reciprocate the president’s visit to Japan with a trip to Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese carried out a surprise attack in 1941, drawing the U.S. into World War II.

Rebecca Savransky contributed to this report, which was updated at 7:19 a.m. 

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