The Japanese yesterday welcomed their Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor and considered it a historic gesture and a political message to the next US president Donald Trump.
Japan’s official Japanese television channel NHK broadcasted live the speech that Abe gave after visiting the USS Arizona Memorial which was built on top of the wreckage of the ship that sunk as a result of Japanese bombing on December the 7th 1941.
This is the first visit made by a Japanese Prime Minister to the memorial which was built in the early sixties to honour the memory of 1177 Americans who were killed when Japanese aircraft destroyed the warship in an attack. A former Japanese seaman named Chezohiko Haraguchi, 95, whose unit participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago, told Asahi TV channel that he was “greatly touched” when he heard Abe’s remarks that praised the conciliation.
Abe has fought a battle to reform national security laws in order to amend a section of Japan’s pacifist constitution and expand the external powers of the Japan Self-Defence Forces (the Japanese military).
Meanwhile, a visit made by one of Abe’s ministers to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo that honours Japanese people who died during recent wars overshadowed Abe’s visit. The shrine is considered to be a symbol of Japan’s militarism in Asia.
A professor of international politics at Osaka University named Haruko Sato commented on the timing of the visit by saying that “it is likely to leave a negative impact on Japan’s diplomacy and affect the positive image left by Abe’s historic visit.”