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Japanese PM to Visit Pearl Harbor for First Time

Will make trip with Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with Secreatary of State John Kerry (C) / AP
• December 5, 2016 12:40 pm

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor at the end of December, marking the first time a sitting Japanese leader has visited the sight where Japan launched a massive surprise attack that brought the United States into World War II.

President Obama will accompany Abe to the USS Arizona Memorial to honor those who died at the infamous site. The year 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, where well over 2,000 Americans perished on Dec. 7, 1941. The attack directed by the Japanese government at the time led the United States to declare war on Japan, signaling America's entrance into the Second World War.

"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," the White House said in a a statement released Monday.

Obama and Abe will also meet together in Honolulu to discuss the bilateral relationship between the United States and Japan and the continued cooperation between both nations on security and economic matters, according to the released statement.

Abe's visit to Pearl Harbor comes after President Obama traveled to Hiroshima, Japan in May. The trip marked the first time a sitting U.S. president had visited the Japanese city since the U.S. dropped a nuclear bomb there in 1945.

"We must never repeat the horror of 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 U.S.," Prime Minister Abe said Monday about this upcoming trip.

Speculation arose that the prime minister would visit Pearl Harbor after his wife visited the site in August.