Abe to become first Japanese PM to visit Pearl Harbor

admin   •   December 6, 2016   •   4088

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

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

Japan to ease entry for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, NZ – Abe

UNTV News   •   June 19, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.

Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.

Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

Japan’s PM Abe extends state of emergency until end of May

UNTV News   •   May 4, 2020

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday (May 4) he has decided to extend the country’s national state of emergency to the end of the month.

Abe will consider lifting the nationwide state of emergency without waiting for its May 31 expiration if expert advisors decide that is possible based on detailed analysis of regional infection trends, he said at a meeting of the government’s coronavirus task force.

He said his advisors said that Japan had not seen the explosive surge in infections seen in some countries overseas, but the number of new infection cases had not fallen enough and there were regions where the medical system was facing strains.

For the 13 prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka that have been hardest hit, a target of reducing person-to-person contacts by 80% would remain in place, Abe said. Japan will move gradually to a framework that will combine prevention of the spread of infections with maintaining social and economic activities, he added. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai)

Japan PM officially declares state of emergency

UNTV News   •   April 7, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe | Image courtesy of Reuters Connect

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday (April 7) declared a state of emergency to fight new coronavirus infections in major population centres and unveiled a stimulus package he described as among the world’s biggest to soften the economic blow.

The state of emergency, giving authorities more power to press people to stay at home and businesses to close, will last through May 6 and be imposed in the capital, Tokyo, and six other prefectures – accounting for about 44% of Japan’s population.

“The most important thing is to change people’s actions,” Abe said in televised comments made at a meeting of a government task force.

Abe will speak at a news conference later tonight to explain to the citizens what the emergency declaration means for the people to get consent from the public. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

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