‘We must never repeat the horrors of war again’: Japan’s prime minister and Obama visit Pearl Harbor

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama made a historic joint visit to Pearl Harbor Tuesday, honoring thousands who perished in the Japanese surprise attack of December 7, 1941 that led US to enter the World War II.

Abe offered “sincere and everlasting condolences” to those who lost their lives and said “we must never repeat the horrors of war again.”Notably, Abe did not apologize for the attack.

Obama called Abe’s visit a “historic gesture” not only because he was the first Japanese leader to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, the resting place for more than a thousand sailors and Marines killed in the attack, but the presence of the two marked the first joint visit to Pearl Harbor by US and Japanese leaders.

Here are some pictures capturing the joint visit by Obama and Abe.


Obama and Abe ride in the stern of the Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet Barge to the USS Arizona Memorial in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.


Abe: “As the prime minister of Japan, I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place.”

Source: Associated Press


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

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Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Source: CNN


Obama, who just months ago became the first incumbent US president to visit Hiroshima, emphasized reconciliation between Japan and the United States, saying “our alliance has never been stronger.”

Source: CNN


Obama and Abe participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial, part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.


Members of an honor guard stand at attention following a wreath-laying ceremony aboard the USS Arizona Memorial, the resting place of 1,102 of 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on board.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Abe and Obama toss flower petals into the Wishing Well at the USS Arizona Memorial.


USS Arizona Memorial from outside. The memorial rests on top of the sunken battleship which was bombed during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Source: National Park Service


Three Pearl Harbor survivors wait for President Obama to speak.


Obama and Abe greet Pearl Harbor survivors.


Abe speaks with Pearl Harbor survivor Alfred “Al” Rodrigues who recalled the December 7, 1941 attack. Rodrigues said during a ceremony earlier this month, “we need to do a little more loving in this world instead of fighting.”

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Abe embraces another Pearl Harbor survivor. Abe said he wishes the future generations of Japan and the United States “will continue to remember Pearl Harbor as the symbol of reconciliation.”


Pearl Harbor survivor Sterling Cale, then a pharmacist’s mate in the Navy, remembered the tragic scene vividly. Cale comes to the Pearl Harbor Visitors’ Center three days a week to share stories with visitors.

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Pearl Harbor survivor Sterling Cale
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Hugh Gentry/Reuters

Source: National Park Service