Abe to become first Japanese PM to visit Pearl Harbor
admin • December 6, 2016 • 4017
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) carries a wreath as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks on, in front of a cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan May 27, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor this month with U.S. President Barack Obama, becoming his country’s first leader to travel to the site of the Japanese attack 75 years ago that drew the United States into World War Two.
“This will be a visit to console the souls of the victims,” Abe told reporters on Monday. “I would like to show to the world the resolve that horrors of war should never be repeated.”
The Dec. 26-27 visit will come seven months after Obama became the first serving U.S. president to visit the Japanese city of Hiroshima, on which the United States dropped an atomic bomb in the closing days of the war, in 1945.
Abe will hold his final summit meeting with the outgoing U.S. president during the trip to Hawaii.
Obama has close ties to 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 Dec. 7, 1941, bombing the U.S. fleet moored there in the hope of destroying U.S. power in the Pacific.
The attack led to the United States entering World War Two and the eventual defeat of Japan in August 1945, days after U.S. atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.
The White House said 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.
Abe last year spoke to the U.S. Congress and expressed “deep repentance” over Japan’s role in World War Two.
An outright apology from Abe would be unlikely during his Pearl Harbor visit, said Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University’s Japan campus.
“He won’t go as far as to apologize, but there will be a demonstration of contrition. He will follow Obama’s model” in Hiroshima, Kingston said. “Obama has shown the way forward in addressing the past without whitewashing and denying.”
In Hiroshima, Obama reiterated his commitment to pursuing a world without nuclear weapons, while avoiding any direct expression of remorse or apology for the U.S. nuclear bombings.
“I think Abe wants to draw a line under history and move forward with (President-elect Donald) Trump and get some difficult obstacles out of the way. It’s probably an astute move on Abe’s part,” Kingston said. — Reuters
TOKYO, JAPAN – An inmate convicted and sentenced to death in Japan over the murder of four people was executed on Thursday, the country’s justice ministry said.
In a press conference, Justice Minister Masako Mori announced the execution of Wei Wei, a Chinese national aged 40.
His death sentence was handed out in 2005 but finalized after an appeal on Nov. 10, 2011 for the murders carried out in June 2003 in the southwestern city of Fukuoka.
The four victims, members of the same family including two children, were allegedly killed by being thrown in the sea tied to weights.
The execution was ordered by Mori on Monday and carried out on Thursday in the city of Fukuoka.
In the press conference, Mori called Wei’s case “extremely savage and cruel,” recalling that the victims included a boy aged 11 and a girl aged 8, along with their parents.
She said that the decision to give the death penalty in the case had been “well-examined” during the trial.
Wei Wei was the first person to be executed in Japan since Aug. 2, also marking the 39th execution during the uninterrupted reign of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since 2012.
Abe had also served as prime minister for a short duration between 2006 and 2007.
This was also the first execution since Mori was appointed minister of justice on Oct. 31.
On Aug. 2, two inmates who were sentenced to death over separate charges of the rape and murder of women were hanged.
A total of 15 death-row inmates were executed in 2018, including Shoko Asahara, the founder of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult that carried out a deadly Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.
Another 12 members of the cult were also executed, and in December 2018, two death-row inmates who were convicted over the murder of a company president and one of the firm’s employees in 1988 were hanged.
Japan is the only industrialized and democratic nation apart from the United States that carries out capital punishment, and death-row inmates are kept in solitary confinement and informed about their execution just hours before they are hanged.
The Asian country currently has 112 convicts on death row. EFE-EPA
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is off to Tokyo on Tuesday to attend a leadership forum, and meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and key business players.
Duterte and some members of his cabinet left the country around 4:52 p.m. at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. Duterte and his delegates are expected to arrive in Tokyo late Tuesday evening.
This will be Duterte’s third visit to Japan since becoming president in 2016.
Malacañang said in a statement that during the working visit, Duterte will attend and deliver a keynote address at the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia.
The forum, organized by Nikkei Inc., is an annual gathering of political, economic and academic leaders from the Asia Pacific region to exchange views on regional issues.
“The President’s address will highlight Philippine development goals and accomplishments, foreign policy thrusts, and insights on regional and global developments,” the Palace said in a statement.
The annual gathering, regarded as one of Asia’s top foreign policy and economic fora, also includes leaders of Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh in its lineup of speakers.
After the conference, Duterte will meet with Abe to discuss cooperation in infrastructure development, trade and investments, agriculture, labor, defense, maritime security and domain awareness.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre earlier told media that Duterte and Abe will likely discuss the issue on South China Sea as the peace and stability in the region is a mutual concern for the two leaders.
The Philippines and China have been locked in a dispute over territories in the South China Sea while Japan has a separate issue with China over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu) in the East China Sea.
Duterte and Abe are also expected to tackle people-to-people exchanges, and the pursuit of just and lasting peace and progress in Mindanao, as well as review the progress of agreements made in previous meetings.
“The President will also take the opportunity to meet with key Japanese industry and tourism leaders at a business forum to encourage Japanese private sector investments in the country and to further heighten interest in the Philippines as a Japanese tourist destination of choice,” the Malacañang said.
During the visit, Duterte is also expected to meet with the Filipino community in Japan to “personally convey his appreciation for their continuing sacrifice and contribution to the country’s socio-economic development.”
Duterte is set to return to the country on Saturday (June 1).
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