Abe: Pearl Harbor Is ‘Symbol of Reconciliation’

Japanese leader shares 'everlasting condolences,' vows to uphold 'alliance of hope'

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Tuesday to “spare no efforts” in remembering Pearl Harbor as “the symbol of reconciliation” that forged “an alliance of hope” between two formerly bitter enemies, during a speech at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam.

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Abe, who spoke alongside President Obama, expressed his deepest gratitude to the United States for its willingness to move forward after the horrors of World War II came to an end over 70 years ago. Noting how graciously the U.S. extended its hand to Japan and helped the war-torn country rebuild and rise from the ashes, Abe formally expressed his “sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives” at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago — and committed to upholding a strong bond of friendship and cooperation.

“Ours is an alliance of hope that will lead us through the future. What has bonded us together is the power of reconciliation made possible through the spirit of tolerance.”

“Japan and the United States, which fought a fierce war that will go down in the annals of human history, have become allies with deep and strong ties rarely found anywhere in history,” Abe said. “We are allies that will tackle together to an even greater degree than ever before the many challenges covering the globe.”

The prime minister said the only reason the two countries could move forward in friendship and put the past behind them was because they both understood “the power of reconciliation” and “the spirit of tolerance.”

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“Ours is an alliance of hope that will lead us through the future. What has bonded us together is the power of reconciliation made possible through the spirit of tolerance,” Abe said. “We must never repeat the horrors of war again. This is the solemn vow we the people of Japan have taken.”

Looking forward, Abe expressed his concern over the “horrors of war that have not been eradicated from the surface of the world.” With the rising threat of terrorism across the globe and the continuing strain of international relations, Abe pleaded with the Japanese, the Americans, and the rest of the world to learn the lesson of Pearl Harbor.

“There is no end to the spiral where hatred creates hatred. The world needs the spirit of tolerance and the power of reconciliation now — and especially now,” Abe said. “Japan and the United States — which have eradicated hatred and cultivated friendship and trust on the basis of common values — are now, and especially now, taking responsibility for appealing to the world about the importance of tolerance and the power of reconciliation. That is precisely why the Japan-U.S. alliance is an alliance of hope.”

Abe said one of his deepest wishes is for the world not to let the horrors and tragedies carried out at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago fall on blind eyes and deaf ears.

“It is my wish that … people all around the world will continue to remember Pearl Harbor as the symbol of reconciliation,” Abe said. “We will spare no efforts to continue our endeavors to make that wish a reality. Together with President Obama, I hereby make my steadfast pledge.”

“On behalf of the Japanese people, I hereby wish to express once again my heartfelt gratitude to the United States and to the world for the tolerance extended to Japan.”

Obama, in what is likely his last meeting as president with a foreign head of state, also spoke at the ceremony — but his words were not nearly as important as the Japanese prime minister’s.

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