‘Japan will never wage war again’ – PM Shinzo Abe

Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, joined U.S. President Barack Obama for a symbolic joint visit to Pearl Harbour on Tuesday, commemorating World War II dead and pledged that “Japan would never wage war again”.

The Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria who monitored the event on news network, reports that Mr. Abe, while delivering a solemn speech offered ‘everlasting condolences’ to the U.S. and the entire world over victims of Pearl Harbour attack and the World War II.

NAN also reports that Mr. Obama pointed out that “there’s more to be won in peace than in war”.

Messrs. Abe and Obama commemorated the dead at the USS Arizona Memorial, built over the remains of the sunken battleship, according to Reuters.

Mr. Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit the memorial, a centrepiece of the historic site.

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

“To the souls of the servicemen who lie in eternal rest aboard the USS Arizona, to the American people, and to all the peoples around the world, I pledge that unwavering vow here as the prime minister of Japan,” he said.

Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbour with torpedo planes, bombers and fighter planes on the morning of December 7, 1941, pounding the U.S. fleet moored there in the hope of destroying U.S. power in the Pacific.

Mr. Abe did not, however, apologise for the attack.

Obama, who earlier this year became the first incumbent U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb in 1945, called Mr. Abe’s visit a “historic gesture” that was “a reminder that even the deepest wounds of war can give way to friendship and a lasting peace”.

The two leaders stood solemnly in front of a wall inscribed with the names of those who died in the 1941 attack and they took part in a brief wreath-laying ceremony, followed by a moment of silence.

“In Remembrance, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan” was written on one wreath and “In Remembrance, Barack Obama, President of the United States” on the other.

The visit, just weeks before Republican President-elect Donald Trump takes office, was meant to highlight the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance in the face of a rising China and amid concerns that Trump would have a more complicated relationship with Tokyo.

World War II, which raged from 1939 to 1945, killed more than 60 million people.

The aftermath of the war led to the formation of the United Nations “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”, among others.

Japan’s Abe heads for New York for first talks with Trump

Japan’s premier Shinzo Abe headed to New York Thursday for talks with Donald Trump, the first leader to meet with the president-elect whose campaign pledges provoked anxiety over US foreign policy.

The brash billionaire is set to receive Abe at his Trump Tower headquarters on Thursday evening, in an encounter that will be closely watched for hints on long-standing security pacts that he has called into question.

“I’m honoured to meet with President-elect Trump ahead of other world leaders,” Abe told reporters. “I’d like to discuss with President Trump our dreams for the future.”

Trump’s blithe comment during the campaign that the US might be “better off” with nuclear-armed Asian allies has thrown into question the US security umbrella over Japan and South Korea.

His later disavowal of the remarks has done little to restore confidence in Washington as the lone superpower ready to face down a rising China and a capricious North Korea.

Trump has also talked about yanking thousands of troops from the region unless Tokyo and Seoul pay more of their hosting costs, despite the opportunity that would present to China and its ambitions for regional supremacy.

“The Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy and security,” Abe said before departing. “The alliance works only when there is trust.”

“I’d like to build trust with Mr Trump and work together hand in hand for the peace and prosperity of the world.”

– Scramble for access –

Dozens of leaders including China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have spoken with Trump by phone since his shock November 8 election victory.

The New York Times said offices of foreign leaders were blindly dialling in to Trump Tower as they scrambled to get the future president on the phone, prompting a denial and an insistence the transition is proceeding smoothly.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was only the second to get through, in a call set up by sports legend Greg Norman who is golfing buddies with Trump, it emerged Thursday.

The unconventional candidate has also stoked concerns in Europe — where the NATO alliance underwrites regional security — by warmly embracing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And he has also vowed to block the vast Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal, which has been championed by Abe and US President Barack Obama.

“I hope to share the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Abe said before departing for the US ahead of the APEC summit of 21 Pacific Rim economies in Peru, where leaders will defend the tenets of free trade.

The 12-nation TPP has been a key component of Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and envisaged as a counterweight to China’s expanding economic influence.

Abe told parliament this week that a collapse of the pact could shift momentum toward a rival trade deal promoted by China.

Despite the faultlines, the Trump camp made positive noises ahead of the meeting with Abe.

It “shows Mr Trump’s commitment to the relationship” with Japan, Republican Devin Nunes, a member of the presidential transition team, told reporters after talks with an Abe aide in Washington to prepare for the meeting.

Nunes called Japan “one of our most important, longest allies”, Kyodo News reported.