United States President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make history later this month by visiting the site of the Pearl Harbor attacks that led to the United States’ entry into WWII. Abe will be the first leader of Japan to visit the site since the day of the attack; December 7, 1941.
Abe told reporters that he will visit the site on December 26 and 27 to pray for the soldiers killed during the attack. The meeting will also serve as a final summit before Obama leaves office. Abe states that the visit is an act of reconciliation between the two nations and hopes that it will lead to increased cohesiveness. He said:
“We must never repeat the tragedy of the 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.”
Obama made history earlier this year by becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Nagasaki and Hiroshima nuclear bomb sites. The trip divided Americans. The Japanese have become staunch allies of the United States in the nearly 75 years since the attack and Abe hopes to continue that trend as Obama transitions out of the White House.
Many Japanese officials are concerned about Trump’s foreign policy. Trump campaigned on the promise that Japan and other allies will contribute more to the cost of stationing U.S. Troops in their countries. Abe, however, seems unconcerned. He met with Trump in New York in November. After the meeting he stated that Trump is a leader that he believes he can have great confidence in.