Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor and his speech at Kilo Pier have met with mixed reactions from the Japanese public on social media. According to Yahoo Real Time Search, 23% of the comments posted on Twitter and Facebook from 6 a.m. today about Abe’s visit or the speech were negative, while only 2% were positive. Some of the negative comments were apparently made in the context of the U.S. base issue in Okinawa, criticizing Abe for stressing the importance of “the power of reconciliation” during his speech while taking a hardline stance on the base issue in Okinawa. One person tweeted: “Say that to Okinawa, to the people of Okinawa!” Others criticized Abe’s pro-constitutional revision approach. Keio University Professor Masaru Kaneko, an outspoken critic of Abe, tweeted: “PM Abe’s creepy speech at Pearl Harbor is now being aired on TV. He said he ‘appreciates U.S. tolerance’ and wants to demonstrate the ‘reconciliation’ between Japan and the U.S.’ Does that mean PM Abe, who is obsessed with revising the Constitution, will stop criticizing ‘the imposed Constitution’? Is he going to do the same for China and South Korea, which Japan invaded and colonized? What this man is saying is totally incoherent.” Kaneko’s tweet has been retweeted 955 times so far.
Meanwhile, many people hailed Abe’s decision to visit Pearl Harbor, with one saying: “Hiroshima has become a symbol of peace. From today, Pearl Harbor will become a symbol of reconciliation. It is important for the world to shift to a future-oriented mindset because the war ended a long time ago. The people’s mindset had not changed for the last 70 years, but history was changed today. Prime Minister Abe is amazing. This is good news for the end of the year.” In response to a Jiji article about the visit that was carried by Yahoo! Japan News, one person posted the comment: “It’s not about who’s responsible or who should apologize. Why can’t we look at this in a straightforward manner? Consoling the spirits of the deceased is wonderful. Why can’t we leave it at that?” The comment has received 9,145 “likes.”