Japan Prime Minister joins Barack Obama for Pearl Harbor visit

  • 06/12/2016
Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe at the G7 conference in Japan, 2016 (Getty)
Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe at the G7 conference in Japan, 2016 (Getty)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will visit Pearl Harbor this month with US President Barack Obama "to console the souls" of victims of Japan's surprise attack on US forces there 75 years ago.

Mr Abe, who will be the first serving Japanese prime minister to visit the naval base in Hawaii, said he wanted to demonstrate resolve to end the horror of war.

This year, Mr Obama became the first serving US president to visit the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which the United States attacked with an atomic bomb in 1945.

"I'll visit Pearl Harbor with President Mr Obama. This will be a visit to console the souls of the victims," Mr Abe told reporters on Monday.

"I would like to show to the world the resolve that horrors of war should never be repeated."

Mr Abe will visit Hawaii on December 26 and 27 and plans to hold his final summit meeting with the outgoing US president during the trip.

Mr Obama has close ties to Hawaii, the island state where he was born and where he and his family have vacationed throughout his White House term.

Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor with torpedo planes, bombers and fighter planes on the morning of December 7, 1941, bombing the US fleet moored there, in the hope of destroying US power in the Pacific.

The attack led to the United States entering World War II and the defeat of Japan in August 1945, days after US atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The White House said Mr Abe's visit would highlight the alliance between the former wartime enemies.

"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 statement.

Mr Abe last year spoke to the US Congress and expressed "deep repentance" over Japan's role in World War II.

In Hiroshima, Mr Obama reiterated his commitment to pursuing a world without nuclear weapons, while avoiding any direct expression of remorse or apology for the US nuclear bombings.