In Pearl Harbor visit, Abe pledges Japan will never wage war again

admin   •   December 28, 2016   •   3901

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) greets U.S. President Barack Obama during a bilateral meeting at Camp H.M. Smith in Aiea, Hawaii, U.S., December 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joined U.S. President Barack Obama for a symbolic joint visit to Pearl Harbor on Tuesday, commemorating World War Two dead and pledging that Japan would never wage war again.

The visit, just weeks before Republican President-elect Donald Trump takes office, was meant to highlight the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance in the face of a rising China and amid concerns that Trump would have a more complicated relationship with Tokyo.

Abe and Obama commemorated the dead at the USS Arizona Memorial, built over the remains of the sunken battleship. Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit the memorial, a centerpiece of the historic site.

“We must never repeat the horrors of war again. This is the solemn vow we, the people of Japan, have taken,” Abe said.

“To the souls of the servicemen who lie in eternal rest aboard the USS Arizona, to the American people, and to all the peoples around the world, I pledge that unwavering vow here as the prime minister of Japan,” he said.

Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor with torpedo planes, bombers and fighter planes on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, pounding the U.S. fleet moored there in the hope of destroying U.S. power in the Pacific.

Abe did not apologize for the attack.

Obama, who earlier this year became the first incumbent U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in 1945, called Abe’s visit a “historic gesture” that was “a reminder that even the deepest wounds of war can give way to friendship and a lasting peace.”

The two leaders stood solemnly in front of a wall inscribed with the names of those who died in the 1941 attack and they took part in a brief wreath-laying ceremony, followed by a moment of silence.

“In Remembrance, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan” was written on one wreath and “In Remembrance, Barack Obama, President of the United States” on the other.

They then threw flower petals into the water.

After their remarks, both leaders greeted U.S. veterans who survived the attack.

Japan hopes to present a strong alliance with the United States amid concerns about China’s expanding military capability.

The leaders’ meeting was also meant to reinforce the U.S.-Japan partnership ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of Trump, whose opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and campaign threat to force allied countries to pay more to host U.S. forces raised concerns among allies such as Japan.

Abe met with Trump in New York in November and called him a “trustworthy leader.”

Obama called for a world without nuclear arms during his visit to Hiroshima. Trump last week called for the United States to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear capability and reportedly welcomed an international arms race. — Reuters

Japan claims its actions over cruise ship are appropriate as public criticism grows

UNTV News   •   February 20, 2020

The Japanese government on Thursday (February 20) defended their efforts to tackle the novel coronavirus’s rapid spread and the quarantine operation that has sparked criticism of authorities just months before Tokyo is due to host the Summer Olympics.

Japan has well over half the known cases outside China due to the ship infections and the rapid spread of the virus and the quarantine operation has sparked criticism of authorities just months before Tokyo is due to host the Summer Olympics.

Infectious disease specialist Kentaro Iwata of Japan’s Kobe University Hospital, who volunteered to help aboard the ship, described the infection control effort on board as “completely inadequate,” and said basic protocols had not been followed.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that after measures were put in place to isolate passengers on Feb. 5, the number of new infections is now almost at zero.

Two elderly coronavirus-infected passengers from a cruise ship moored near Tokyo have died and two more government officials have been infected, the Japanese government said on Thursday, as more passengers disembarked after two weeks’ quarantine.

More than 620 of the passengers on the Diamond Princess liner have been infected on the ship, which has been quarantined since Feb. 3, initially with about 3,700 people on board.

(Production: Kohei Miyazaki, Hideto Sakai)

Popularity of Japanese fugu to puff up ahead of Olympics

UNTV News   •   February 20, 2020

JAPAN (Reuters) – Inside the kitchen of Fukudokoro Sakai, a wholesaler across the road from a seafood market at the southern tip of the main island of Japan, the chef casually hacks off the head of a live pufferfish.

He proceeds to skin and gut the fish while its heart still beats, deftly removing the poisonous parts and tossing them into a bucket on the floor for later disposal.

The meat of the fish, stained a bloody red from the violence, will then be cleaned and cut into thin, semi-translucent sashimi slices and arranged into a shape of a chrysanthemum flower for customers at the adjoining restaurant to eat for lunch.

The poisonous parts – which include the eyes and the liver – are what puts this otherwise nondescript fish in the spotlight.

Other than being a wide-eyed fish that puffs itself up into a ball when threatened, it is known as the fish that claims the lives of those unlucky enough to accidentally consume its poison.

Between 2008 and 2018, six people died while dozens of others fell ill each year from the poison.

But this scene may soon be less common with domestic demand for the pufferfish declining, as the gross value of output was down to 3.4 billion yen in 2017 from 5.0 billion yen ten years ago with a few spikes in between.

With that in mind, Japan’s pufferfish industry now have their sights on a new target – tourists arriving for this year’s Olympics.

Thousands of foreign tourists are expected in Japan for the July 24 – Aug. 9 Games and many will be considering eating the notorious fugu on their bucket list.

(Production: Jack Tarrant)

More passengers leave quarantined cruise ship in Japan to go home

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Disembarkation of passengers on the virus-hit cruise ship moored near Tokyo continued on Wednesday (February 19), after a controversial two-week quarantine that saw more than 500 people infected with the new coronavirus originating in China.

Buses escorted by Japan’s Self Defense Force and police vehicles were seen transporting passengers out of the port throughout the day, while remaining passengers looked on from the ship’s balcony.

The Diamond Princess, operated by Carnival Corp, was quarantined on arrival in the port of Yokohama since Feb. 3, after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong before it traveled to Japan was diagnosed with the virus. More than 540 people have been infected with the virus on the liner, which originally carried some 3,700 passengers and crew.

Foreign nationals such as Australians, Hong Kongers, and Canadians were set to leave the ship on Wednesday. The governments of these countries are preparing to evacuate them on chartered flights. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Kohei Miyazaki, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

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