Japanese Prime Minister to Visit Pearl Harbor

Posted: Dec 05, 2016 9:45 AM

The White House announced Monday morning that the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, will be visiting the U.S. Naval Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. This will mark the first time a sitting prime minister has ever done so since the base was attacked by Japanese forces in 1941, ushering the United States into World War II.

“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,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest explained on Monday.

Abe will meet with President Obama in Honolulu on December 27. The two will then tour USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and honor those killed during the surprise Japanese attack.

The visit to Hawaii is apparently a reciprocal move after Obama made an historic visit to Hiroshima, the site of America’s nuclear attack, in May of this year. At the time of the American president’s visit to Japan, Abe said he would not be returning the favor. However, the Japanese leader must’ve changed his mind.

The tour of Pearl Harbor is meant to showcase the “reconciliation” between the two nations and to renew focus on eliminating the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.