It has been 75 years since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii during World War II. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima which was the city that the United States destroyed with a nuclear bomb. This was the first time that a sitting U.S. president visited Hiroshima since World War II.
Now, history is going to be made again after it was announced on Monday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be visiting Pearl Harbor at the end of December of this year. This will be the first time that a Japanese leader will visit Pearl Harbor since the Japanese bombed it in 1941. When Abe spoke with reporters about this, he sort of implied that his visit to Pearl Harbor will be a kind gesture made in return for Obama visiting Hiroshima.
President Obama is expected to join Abe when he visits Pearl Harbor in December. This month is rather significant because the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor took place on December 7th, 1941. So, Abe’s visit will be almost exactly 75 years after that fatal event. He told reporters that he hopes his visit will help “soothe the souls of the victims.”
Even though Abe will be the first leader of Japan to visit the site, his wife, Akie Abe, has already been to Pearl Harbor. In August 2016, she made a surprise trip to Pearl Harbor to pay her respects to the victims of that fateful day. But once her husband visits this month, it will truly be a symbolic thing for both Japan and the United States. There has always been some tension between the two countries because of what happened during the war. But now, it seems like both countries are finally making peace with the past and are willing to learn from their mistakes.