Japan PM Shinzo Abe to make landmark visit to Pearl Harbor

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on May 27, 2016 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Barack Obama visited Hiroshima with Mr Abe in May

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is to make a landmark visit at the end of this year to Pearl Harbor, the US naval base in Hawaii.

Japanese forces launched a surprise attack on the base in 1941, killing 2,300 US servicemen and propelling the US into World War Two.

Mr Abe will visit on 27 December with US President Barack Obama.

The announcement, two days before the 75th anniversary of the attack, follows a visit by Mr Obama to Hiroshima.

He became the first US president to visit the Japanese city, where about 150,000 people are believed to have been killed in 1945 by a US atomic bomb.

Mr Abe said in a statement: "We must never repeat the tragedy of the war. I would like to send this commitment. At the same time, I would like to send a message of reconciliation between Japan and the US."

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Media captionRemembering Pearl Harbor 75 years on

The two leaders will pray for the dead at the site of the attack, before a final summit meeting between them in Hawaii.

The White House said the visit would "showcase the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies, united by common interests and shared values".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some 2,300 US servicemen died in the attack on Pearl Harbor

Mr Abe said: "Our talks in Hawaii will be a chance to show the rest of the world our ever stronger alliance in the future."

The attack on Pearl Harbor will be marked on Wednesday by a remembrance ceremony on a pier overlooking the harbour, where a moment of silence will be held at 07:55 - the time the attack began.

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Media captionWitness: Pearl Harbour

Correction 8 December 2016: This story, which originally said Mr Abe would be the first Japanese prime minister to go to Pearl Harbor, has been amended after it emerged that Shigeru Yoshida made a brief visit in 1951.

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