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Hibakusha, journalists react to Abe’s planned Pearl Harbor visit

NHK’s “News Watch 9” and the evening news shows of most commercial networks led with reports on Prime Minister Abe’s announcement on Monday evening that he will visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama in late December to pay tribute to those killed there. NHK quoted Sunao Tsuboi, co-chairperson of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, as welcoming Abe’s decision to visit Pearl Harbor by saying that it is a good idea to comfort the souls of the victims. Shigeaki Mori, the Hiroshima A-bomb survivor whom President Obama hugged in Hiroshima, said it is great that President Obama and Prime Minister Abe will visit Pearl Harbor together and discuss world peace there. A political reporter speculated that Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor is intended to reinforce stable relations between the U.S. and Japan by confirming reconciliation between the two nations. Noting that President-elect Trump posted a tweet on President Obama’s trip to Hiroshima saying, “Does President Obama ever discuss the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor while he’s in Japan? Thousands of American lives lost,” a Washington correspondent speculated that Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor will be welcomed by the American people and have a positive impact on Japan’s relations with the Trump administration. Kyodo News journalist Kenji Goto said on TV-Asahi’s “Hodo Station” that by visiting Pearl Harbor, Abe probably intends to return the favor for President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima and will try to put an end to discussion on postwar reconciliation. Goto added that the White House reacted strongly to Abe’s meeting with Trump in November and that Abe will try to mend his strained ties with President Obama by holding their final summit in Hawaii.

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