The Power of Reconciliation
Excerpts from the Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Delivered at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 27, 2016
President Obama, Commander Harris, ladies and gentlemen, and all American citizens, I stand here at Pearl Harbor as the prime minister of Japan.
Behind me, a striking white form atop the azure, is the USS Arizona Memorial. Together with President Obama, I paid a visit to that memorial, the resting place for many souls.
It was a place which brought utter silence to me. Inscribed there are the names of the servicemen who lost their lives. Sailors and marines hailing from California and New York, Michigan and Texas, and various other places, serving to uphold their noble duty of protecting the homeland they loved, lost their lives amidst searing flames that day, when aerial bombing tore the USS Arizona in two.
Even 75 years later, the USS Arizona , now at rest atop the seabed, is the final resting place for a tremendous number of sailors and marines. Listening again as I focus my senses, alongside the song of the breeze and the rumble of the rolling waves, I can almost discern the voices of those crewmen.
Each and every one of those servicemen had a mother and a father anxious about his safety. Many had wives and girlfriends they loved. And many must have had children they would have loved to watch grow up. All of that was brought to an end. When I contemplate that solemn reality, I am rendered entirely speechless.
“Rest in peace, precious souls of the fallen.” With that overwhelming sentiment, I cast flowers on behalf of Japanese people, upon the waters where those sailors and marines sleep.
It has now been 75 years since that “Pearl Harbor.” Japan and the United States, which fought a fierce war that will go down in the annals of human history, have become allies with deep and strong ties rarely found anywhere in history.
We are allies that will tackle together, to an even greater degree than ever before, the many challenges covering the globe. Ours is an “alliance of hope” that will lead us to the future.
What has bonded us together is the power of reconciliation, made possible through the spirit of tolerance. What I want to appeal to the people of the world, here at Pearl Harbor, together with President Obama, is this power of reconciliation. Even today, the horrors of war have not been eradicated from the surface of the world. There is no end to the spiral where hatred creates hatred. The world needs the spirit of tolerance and the power of reconciliation now— and especially now.
Japan and the United States, which have eradicated hatred and cultivated friendship and trust on the basis of common values, are now, and especially now, taking responsibility for appealing to the world about the importance of tolerance and the power of reconciliation. That is precisely why the Japan-U.S. alliance is “an alliance of hope.”
Pearl Harbor: It is precisely this beautiful inlet, shimmering like pearls, that is a symbol of tolerance and reconciliation. It is my wish that our Japanese children, and President Obama, your American children, and indeed their children and grandchildren, and people all around the world, will continue to remember Pearl Harbor as the symbol of reconciliation.
We will spare no efforts to continue our endeavors to make that wish a reality. Together with President Obama, I hereby make my steadfast pledge.