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Akie Abe visits Pearl Harbor

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Her husband has been forced to stay away from the shrine after making a visit there in December 2013.

Please, no one "forced" Abe to do anything, he still sends offerings and still allows his cabinet ministers and says nothing to stop other LDP lawmakers from going, even when HE as the head of the LDP could stop them.

Aki Abe visiting here is more than just a "private" visit, she is the wife of the leader of Japan, and what she does is a direct reflection upon Abe as leader here.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

They must be an interesting couple. PM Abe is an ultra-conservative rightist member of Nihon Kaigi, which believes women should be home taking care of babies, and she does things like going to Pearl Harbor and standing on a float with a group of drag queens at Tokyo's Pride Parade. I wonder what the dinner conversation is like.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

At least from what's in this article,she sounds like she handled it properly and hit the right notes.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

So Obama makes a historical visit to Hiroshima and Abe sends his wife to Pearl Habour? That tells us where he stands with Japan/US relations.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

I wonder if she had to wait three hours in line.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

"The visit set off a firestorm of criticism in China and South Korea, and also earned a rare rebuke from top ally the United States. "

"December 26, 2013 Japan is a valued ally and friend. Nevertheless, the United States is disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbors. The United States hopes that both Japan and its neighbors will find constructive ways to deal with sensitive issues from the past, to improve their relations, and to promote cooperation in advancing our shared goals of regional peace and stability. We take note of the Prime Minister’s expression of remorse for the past and his reaffirmation of Japan's commitment to peace."

http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20131226-01.html

0 ( +4 / -4 )

“I offered flowers and my prayers at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor,” she wrote.

A nice gesture it was. Not like the two elderly Japanese who I witnessed laughing inside the memorial when I visited there years ago

0 ( +9 / -9 )

It is a step in the right direction....

6 ( +8 / -2 )

sensei258

I find it hard to believe that any elderly Japanese would laugh at the USS Arizona Memorial. Perhaps you misunderstood what you saw. I've seen many Japanese there and not one laughed. All had solemn expressions on their face.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

It's a beginning at least.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Doing it this way does only amplify how much her husband does not want to go there.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I find it hard to believe that any elderly Japanese would laugh at the USS Arizona Memorial. Perhaps you misunderstood what you saw.

HTF could I misunderstand two old Japanese guys (they were speaking Japanese) laughing? Do you really think a college-educated middle-aged guy doesn't know what laughing is? "Granted, I don't know what they were laughing about, because I didn't understand Japanese at that time.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

So Obama makes a historical visit to Hiroshima and Abe sends his wife to Pearl Habour? That tells us where he stands with Japan/US relations.

I guess embarrassing yourself and dressing up as Mario was more important than going to PH yourself.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

No doubt it is done deliberately and at Abe's instruction, to make him look a bit less bad. But nevertheless, a positive step and better than not doing it. It would be a good gesture for Abe himself to go some time, but there should be no pressure on him to do so.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"It was not clear exactly when Akie Abe made the visit. "

Akie Abe made a surprise visit Sunday to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii ... Abe visited the site at 7:55 a.m., the exact time that the attack took place in 1941. Her visit there was a personal one. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/22/national/akie-abe-prays-pearl-harbor-fueling-speculation-japans-prime-minister-will-follow-suit/

Why not just let her have some independence? As an American I appreciate her visit, no matter what her views or reason for visiting.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Maybe her actions are sincere. We don't know. They certainly wouldn't be if it was Mr. Abe. They are an interesting couple with what seems on the surface very different opinions. Perhaps she could visit the Kwai Bridge and the nearby temple next.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"an interesting couple. PM Abe is an ultra-conservative rightist member of Nihon Kaigi, which believes women should be home taking care of babies, and she does things like going to Pearl Harbor and standing on a float with a group of drag queens at Tokyo's Pride Parade. I wonder what the dinner conversation is like"

Imagine. A couple where the husband and wife don't agree on every little thing. People who love each other can certainly agree to disagree. I think it is wonderful. People do not give Abe enough credit. He is a modern person. A technocrat and a good manager. If anything, being such busy people, there is probably not much dinner conversation. They will retire someday and catch up... just like modern couples do.

As someone who has taken groups of Japanese people to the Arizona and the Punch Bowl, I have to chime in that I have never seen or known a Japanese person to have a laughing and carefree attitude at those memorials. I know that trolls use that meme a lot to raise a lot of bad feelings, but I think people are pretty reasonable and respectful. Same with Hiroshima. People are respectful there too. To be perfectly honest, when I visited the Arizona for the third time, I was thinking about all kinds of stuff OTHER than the memorial. Did I smile or say something funny to someone? I wonder. Did I wear a hat or put my hands in my pockets? I don't think so. People might have all kinds of bad opinions about me, but hey. I was there paying my respects. Oh yeah. And I am white. How many Hawaii vacationers just skip it altogether? Would we want them to? By the way, the Missouri is there too, or used to be. Japanese people visit that too. If it turned out that more Japanese visit the Missouri and the Pampanito than Americans, which I think is likely, what could we conclude from that?

Just for perspective, the Pearl Harbor attack was 75 years ago, and I know that people had picnics at the Gettysburg battlefield in the 1920s and 1930s. Hallowed ground indeed. And I heard there is a storage room for bicycles in the basement of the Alamo. I wonder if anyone bothers to even joke about that. Rebel flags flying over a state building? Sure, why not. The Little Big Horn is full of explanations from a native American perspective, and US taxpayers paid for them. Whargarble. But let's chafe over a rumor of two old Japanese guys who had a chuckle about who knows what while they were on vacation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why just a visit to Pearl Harbor? What about a visit to Darwin?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Darwin

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"I am aware that there are various debates and views about Pearl Harbor, but I believe we must go beyond hatred and anger, and pass down these memories to following generations."

What various debates and views? Is she talking about the advanced warning theories or Japan's view that it was coerced into attacking? There's no real "debate" about the later outside Japan, and it's a fact that Japan struck first. I know it could simply be a nice gesture, but this comment and her previous visits to Yasukuni make me question her "views" and sincerity.

The US and Japan have never really had bad relations since the war. A visit to a site in China or SK would be a bigger step forward in Japan's foreign relations. But she was probably just on vacation and decided to stop by.

@5SpeedRacer5

I have never seen or known a Japanese person to have a laughing and carefree attitude at those memorials.

While I agree that most people wouldn't, I can easily imagine certain people who have swallowed whole the story of Japan as victim doing so. I had a Japanese coworker who, knowing I was from Hawaii, told me about his visit to Pearl Harbor. He told me that the oil that still bubbles to the surface from the sunken vessels is iyagarase (harassment) aimed at the Japanese and that they should clean it up. He was a older guy and otherwise open-minded so I shrugged it off, but it was still pretty shocking.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Was it a surprise visit?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tbh, it really doesn't mean anything much except some reflection. But the US isn't the one that needs a show of better reflection of the activities of the old Imperial Japan. It's China/Korea etc that are asking for it. Once Japan resolves it's whitewashing and lack of spreading truthful information of history, then the most vocal countries will not have a leg to stand on with their complaints.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Cudos to her!

Will the PM do the same (some day)??

I doubt it!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Abe is not a fair player and is only interested in himself. He does not want to be a team player and still idolizes war criminals of Japans glorious past atrocities. At least the Germans and Italians admit the atrocities and ensures all know they are sorry for the past and will not let that happen again. It would be his benefit and help ease the tension in other Nations to go and admit that we must never let the past ever happen again. Its a two way street in this world and Abe is still on a one way dirt road by his inaction. Too bad

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I dont see anything wrong with her visiting as a private citizen and only mentioning it after the fact with respect.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is she talking about the advanced warning theories or Japan's view that it was coerced into attacking?

The view that Japan was pushed into attacking Pearl Harbor originated with the American historian Charles A. Beard.

Abe is not a fair player and is only interested in himself. He does not want to be a team player and still idolizes war criminals of Japans glorious past atrocities.

Quotes in Japanese from Abe to support your claims, please.

At least the Germans and Italians admit the atrocities and ensures all know they are sorry for the past and will not let that happen again.

Some Germans. East Germany never took responsibility for anything.

It would be his benefit and help ease the tension in other Nations to go and admit that we must never let the past ever happen again.

Which other nations? As far as I know, there are only two (three if you count North Korea) that have problems with Japan. Japanese political leaders have made numerous apologies. You can get a list here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan

The main reason these apologies have not been accepted is "the tension in other nations." It is useful in terms of internal politics for the Chinese communists and the ROK government to keep these issues alive.

The Philippines suffered greatly under the Japanese but have you ever read about the Philippines protesting visits to Yasukuni or saying that Japan has not really apologized?

You have not and you probably will not.

Why? Because Japan bashing doesn't produce results in Philippine politics. Same for Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, etc.

The issue is NOT a lack of a "sincere" Japanese apology. If that was really the case other countries that suffered under the Japanese should be complaining.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Maybe she can visit the girl statue in Seoul?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@MrBum

What various debates and views? Is she talking about the advanced warning theories or Japan's view that it was coerced into attacking? There's no real "debate" about the later outside Japan, and it's a fact that Japan struck first.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/history/item/4740-pearl-harbor-hawaii-was-surprised-fdr-was-not

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

bullfighter: "The Philippines suffered greatly under the Japanese but have you ever read about the Philippines protesting visits to Yasukuni or saying that Japan has not really apologised?"

Yes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/30/world/asia/japan-philippines-comfort-women-emperor-akihito.html?_r=0

That's just one example. So there you go. No more saying people in nations other than the three you mentioned are not angry about Japan's past. There have also been protests by Taiwanese and demands for apologies by Dutch, Indonesian, and other former sex slaves. But haven't you said in the past they were all well-paid prostitutes?

In any case, good on Abe's wife for visiting, whether Suga wants to jump on the apologist bandwagon and say it's not official or not. Maybe Abe can, as usual, follow his wife and do what's right (save visiting Yasukuni).

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

No one can change the past. I admire Mrs. Abe for her efforts at remembering and honoring the past and the people who gave their lives. Peace and forgiveness should be our focus, and not repeating past mistakes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's terribly improbable that the US was 'suprised' by this horrendous event given it had been intercepting all communications from Japan. It's a bitter pill to swallow but the economy was against the wall and the only quick way out of that mire was all out war, Japan gladly provided the motive and the rest as they say is a dark history.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

"there are various debates and views abt pearl harbour". but... sounds like a script carefully worked out with hubby.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Next? Abe? Sorry?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MrBumAug. 23, 2016 - 11:34AM JST What various debates and views? Is she talking about the advanced warning theories or Japan's view that it was coerced >into attacking? There's no real "debate" about the later outside Japan, and it's a fact that Japan struck first.

An article from a newspaper 1932. http://michaelyonjp.blogspot.jp/2016_07_01_archive.html

The Pearl Harbor attack was not a completely unprovoked unexpected act on the part of the Japanese Empire. That was the war time US propaganda sold to the nation to get the country willing to enter WWII. It was predictable, and most likely even preventable. OSS operations in support of China throughout the 1930s was as much a fact as the Pearl Harbor attack. I believe it is important for us to understand the view that Japan was coerced, least we fail to understand why the Chinese today feel that their aggression is making up for a 100 years of humiliation. The historical pattern of modern Japan, post late 1800s in terms of humiliation and unfairness at the hands of the Western powers, fear of colonization, and the rise in power of the military all serve as a model upon which we need to understand China's economic and military rise in the beginning of the 21st century.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Good Bad Fred Wallace

@Fred Wallace

"It's terribly improbable that the US was 'suprised' by this horrendous event given it had been intercepting all communications from Japan. It's a bitter pill to swallow but the economy was against the wall and the only quick way out of that mire was all out war, Japan gladly provided the motive and the rest as they say is a dark history."

IF that were the case, then the US had all the motive in needed when the USS Panay was sunk in the Yangtze River near Nanking on Dec. 12, 1937 by Japanese aircraft. The Japanese said it was a case of mistaken identity from bombers at high altitude. However, when President Roosevelt saw the news reel, there being several reporters from various nations aboard, he summoned the producer to the White House. The producer was "asked" to cut the bits showing Japanese attack aircraft at main deck level and the huge painting of the US flag disproving the Japanese claim that it was a case of mistaken identity. The footage was removed because the American people, seeing it when they went to the movie theater as it was common in those days to see Movietone News before the main feature, woud have demaded war. Yet, Roosevelt had it removed and thus the US did not declare war at that time despite its economy being little better than it was at the time you claim it was the motivation for going to war in 1941. Yes, messages were intercepted stating that an attack force was underway but that in no way means that that it was understood where the target of the attack would be, especially with Japan having been at war in Asia for a long time. While relations between other former enemies and Japan are not always as cordial as those between the US and Japan, many in the US are furious over Obama's visit to Hiroshima, especially as it came before a State visit by Japan to Pearl Harbor. Mrs. Abe's visit may have been, in part, with that in mind.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Japan T

Thanks for that information. I'd like to mention that at that time, the people were 100% against any involvement in everyone else's war. The sinking by Japan was only the precursor seeing as something on a much grander scale was required to sway public opinion. And like a domino from the bowels of hell the Japanese fell for it and made the incredibly misplaced decision to undermine and attack US inadvertently reoiling the war industry which in the long run revitalized the fledgling economy we know today.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The dead should always be mourned. Doesn't matter who they were. They had a mother and a father who loved them (on some level).

The history of WWII has been rehashed over and over. Can't we all get passed that? Japan and the USA don't always agree and we won't always agree, but we are both stronger with each other than without.

Mrs Abe is welcome to visit Pearl Harbor as far as I'm concerned. Actually, in my mind, everyone is welcome to visit provided the appropriate respect for the dead is shown. I don't require respect for the USA, just for these dead.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

klausdorthAug. 23, 2016 - 12:06PM JST Cudos to her! Will the PM do the same (some day)?? I doubt it!

PSandozAug. 23, 2016 - 08:29PM JST Next? Abe? Sorry?

Are you posters aware that PM Shinzo Abe apologized to the United States in an address to a joint session of the US Congress and received a standing ovation?

" Abe visited the World War II Memorial prior to the speech and used the term “deep repentance” when reflecting on that experience. He made a statement about the war: “My dear friends, on behalf of Japan and the Japanese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II.” Abe then recognized a U.S. veteran of the Battle of Iwo Jima and a Japanese lawmaker whose grandfather was the commander of the Japanese garrison at Iwo Jima to commemorate efforts at reconciliation between the two countries that served as a foundation for the U.S.-Japan alliance. Abe also stated that Japan’s actions brought suffering to the people of Asia and that he would uphold statements on the war expressed by previous prime ministers."

https://www.csis.org/analysis/abe%E2%80%99s-speech-congress

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@sf2k: She has been to Korea very often She watches Korean soap operas and she speaks Korean language fluently. Didn't you know?

She travels with her money whereever she want to go. That is why we hear after she came back.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Let us be honest, Pearl Harbor was a preemptive strike. I am probably the only person chatting here who was alive when the Pacific War was fought. Give Mrs. Abe a break. She is honoring the dead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let us be honest, Pearl Harbor was a preemptive strike.

There is no such thing. There is only those who started the war, and those who didn't.

They tried calling the invasion of Iraq a preemptive strike. It wasn't. It was an invasion of a sovereign nation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Fred Wallace

Yes, the American public was dead set against getting involved in other people's wars. Having YOUR ship intentially sunk, however makes it YOUR war. The American people would have been enraged if they knew it was intentially sunk and that Japan lied about it. If President Roosevelt wanted war, he had in 1937 for the taking. Yet he chose not to take the opportunity AND took action to prevent it, having the incriminating scenes cut from the newsreel. Your theory that something on a much grander scale was needed is undercut by this fact. But let's say your theory is correct. What purpose would then be served by editing out the incriminating scenes?

Another point that is overlooked by both those who believe that Roosevelt manipulated the Japanese into attacking the US and those who debunk it is how nearly the war in Pacific was lost. A major deciding factor was not the fighting abilities of the two nation's fighting men but in each nation's ability to supply them. The US Navy was compelled to temporarily abandon the Marines at Guadalcanal because supply ships were too few in the Pacific and thus more valuable to the overall war effort than the Marines they would be supplying (hat off to those Marines who nonetheless won) and could not be risked to loss.

Knowing this, one must wonder at the sheer good fortune of the US and the bad judgement of Japanese military command. A nation can have 500 times as many ships as the next largest navy in the world but they are useless if they are without fuel. The fuel storage facility in Pearl was, and I believe still is, right there out in the open. All that was needed was to drop a very small amount of ordinance among the fuel tanks and the US navy at pearl would have been nothing more than a floating museum and all plans equally useless for a sustained fight until more fuel could be brought and storage facilities rebuilt. I have looked, there were very, very few fleet oilers in the Pacific on Dec. 7, 1941 and I do not know their lading at that time. True, I do not have any idea of the civilian fuel oil transport capacities, but regardless, taking out Pearl's fuel dump would have set back the war effort's timetable in the Pacific considerably, possibly allowing the Japanese to land at Australia as the US would not have had the ability to get any force to Guadalcanal which a defense of Australia called for. Then the out come could very well have been different. At the very least would have cost more US lives, money and material.

That is a MIGHTY big risk for Roosevelt to have taken. Unless you believe that Admiral Yamamoto was in on the conspiracy and intentionally left the fuel alone so that the US would have a fighting chance, the evidence against a conspiracy to allow the attack at P H is great and the evidence for a conspiracy, light.

Malice should not be assumed when simple incompetence will answer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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