PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii: US President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Pearl Harbor to pay homage to the victims of Japan’s 1941 bombing here, which killed more than 2,400 Americans and drew the US into World War II.
Both the leaders laid a wreath of peace lilies at the wall of the USS Arizona memorial that is etched with the names of the fallen U.S. service members.
Abe’s visit is the first ever by any sitting Japanese prime minister to the memorial. In May Obama visited the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which was also the first by a sitting U.S. president.
Abe struck a theme in his remarks similar to Mr. Obama’s in Hiroshima—acknowledging the suffering from Japan’s surprise attack and calling Pearl Harbor a symbol of reconciliation between the two countries, but stopping short of an apology.
“Rest in peace precious souls of the fallen,” Abe said, standing alongside Mr. Obama on a pier across from the USS Arizona.
“As the prime minister of Japan, I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls who lost their lives here,” he said. “We must never repeat the horrors of war again.” Obama thanked Mr. Abe for his presence, calling it a “historic gesture” that “speaks to the power of reconciliation.”
“Our alliance has never been stronger,” Mr. Obama said, calling Pearl Harbor “a sacred place” for Americans.