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People's Daily Online

Abe offers no apology during Pearl Harbor visit

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:33, December 28, 2016

Hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday offered no apology during his visit to Pearl Harbor for a sneak attack in World War II that claimed more than 2,400 American lives.

Though the Japanese government billed Abe's visit as a tour of reconciliation, the no-apology tour also served no more than a political show from Abe that aims to strengthen Japanese-U.S. alliance amid uncertainty in the upcoming Donald Trump administration.

Calling himself "entire speechless" when standing at the Pearl Harbor memorial constructed on the sunken USS Arizona, Abe acknowledged that the United States and Japan fought a fierce war "that will go down in the annuls of human history."

However, except from offering his "sincere and everlasting condolences" to the souls of the Americans killed by troops of the Japanese Imperial Empire, no apology from Abe was issued.

As many as 2,403 Americans were killed, about 20 U.S. vessels were sunk or damaged and over 300 U.S. aircraft were damaged or destroyed when more than 350 Japanese warplanes launched stealth attacks.

"I think he should apologize. It was a raid that they bombed us and they should apologize. They already surrendered but they should apologize further," said Grace Sandoval, a teenager visiting Washington, D.C. from the U.S. State of Connecticut.

The attack came as a shock to the Americans and directly led to U.S. entry into World War II.

Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, after the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Abe's decision to visit Pearl Harbor came about six months after Obama visited Hiroshima.

Apart from reciprocating Obama's visit to Hiroshima, Abe's trip to Pearl Harbor was believed to be the latest step by the Japanese government to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance before Trump's inauguration next January.

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly ripped U.S. defense of Japan as one-sided and expensive deal.

Japan's Kyodo News quoted a senior Japanese official as saying that since the election of Trump, Japan had been forced to think how best to show Trump that Japan was a trustworthy partner.

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