Japan-United States of America Relations

Visit by Prime Minister Abe to Hawaii

December 28, 2016
Japanese

From December 26 to 27, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, visited the Island of Oahu, the State of Hawaii, the United States of America. The overview is as follows.

1. Schedule

(1) December 26 (MON)

Visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Visit to the Japanese Section of Makiki Cemetery
Visit to the Ehime Maru Memorial
Visit to the Memorial for Commander Fusata Iida
Visit to the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), the Department of Defense
Dinner Banquet with People of Japanese Descent

(2) December 27 (TUE)

Visit to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting
Visit to the USS Arizona Memorial
Statements by the Two Leaders

2. Visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Prime Minister Abe visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific where the war dead and others from the Pacific region are buried. Guided by Mr. James Horton, Director of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the Prime Minister proceeded to lay a wreath, and offered a silent prayer. Prime Minister Abe then signed his name on the guestbook of the cemetery. He also offered flowers and a silent prayer at the gravestone of the late Senator Daniel Inouye and recalled a man who made enormous contribution to the strengthening of the bond between Japan and the United States.

Those who accompanied Prime Minister Abe to this event include the following: Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister for Defense; Mr. Koichi Hagiuda, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Seiichi Eto, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister; Mr. Hiromi Yoshida, Chairperson, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Councillors; Mr. Masaji Matsuyama, Chief Whip, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Councillors; Mr. Iwao Horii, Secretary General, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Councillors; Her Excellency Ms. Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador of the United States to Japan; Mr. David Yutaka Ige, Governor of the State of Hawaii; and Lieutenant General Jerry P. Martinez, Commander, United States Forces Japan.

3. Visit to the Japanese Section of Makiki Cemetery

Prime Minister Abe visited the Japanese Section of Makiki Cemetery in Honolulu. After receiving explanations on the cemetery and monuments from Mr. Noboru Hayase, President of Hawaii Meiji Kai, and Mr. Dean Asahina, President of the United Japanese Society of Hawaii, the Prime Minister laid wreaths and offered silent prayers at the following monuments: the monument to 1868 Japanese pioneer immigrants (note: 1868 is the first year of the Meiji period); the monument for the repose of souls; and the monument to Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. Prime Minister Abe then signed his name on the guestbook of the cemetery. Prime Minister Abe also exchanged words with the representatives of Hawaii Meiji Kai and United Japanese Society of Hawaii.

Those who accompanied Prime Minister Abe to this event include the following: Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister for Defense; Mr. Koichi Hagiuda, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Seiichi Eto, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister; Mr. Hiromi Yoshida, Chairperson, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Councillors; Mr. Masaji Matsuyama, Chief Whip, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Councillors; Mr. Iwao Horii, Secretary General, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Councillors; Her Excellency Ms. Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador of the United States to Japan; Mr. David Yutaka Ige, Governor of the State of Hawaii; and Lieutenant General Jerry P. Martinez, Commander, United States Forces Japan.

4. Visit to the Ehime Maru Memorial

Prime Minister Abe visited the Ehime Maru Memorial located in Kakaako Waterfront Park. After receiving explanations on the accident and the Memorial from Mr. Hisao Miwa, Chairman of Japan-America Society of Hawaii, the Prime Minister laid a wreath and offered a silent prayer at the memorial monument. Prime Minister Abe also exchanged words with Mr. Earl K. Okawa, President of the Ehime Maru Memorial Association, and those engaged in volunteer cleaning of the Memorial.

Those who accompanied Prime Minister Abe to this event include the following: Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister for Defense; Mr. Koichi Hagiuda, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Seiichi Eto, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister; Mr. Hiromi Yoshida, Chairperson, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Councillors; Mr. Masaji Matsuyama, Chief Whip, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Councillors; Mr. Iwao Horii, Secretary General, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Councillors; Her Excellency Ms. Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador of the United States to Japan; Mr. David Yutaka Ige, Governor of the State of Hawaii; and Lieutenant General Jerry P. Martinez, Commander, United States Forces Japan.

【Reference】 The Ehime Maru Memorial

On February 9, 2001 (February 10 Japan time), the Ehime Maru, a training vessel of Ehime Prefectural Uwajima Fishery High School, sank as a result of the collision with the USS Greeneville, a nuclear-powered submarine, when the submarine abruptly surfaced. Nine persons (four trainees, two instructors, and three crewmembers) lost their lives in this event.

This memorial was built on a slightly elevated hill in Kakaako Waterfront Park and was unveiled on February 9, 2002, one year after the accident. The intention of the memorial is to pray for the victims and for the safety of the world’s seas and to wish that the peoples of Ehime Prefecture and the United States will overcome this unfortunate event, deepen mutual understanding, and promote friendship and goodwill.

5. Visit to the Memorial for Commander Fusata Iida

Prime Minister Abe visited the memorial for Commander Fusata Iida of the Imperial Japanese Navy, which was built by the United States at the Marine Corps base in Kaneohe Bay, the largest base of the U.S. Marine Corps in Hawaii. After receiving explanation from Mr. Daniel Martinez, Chief Historian of the WWII Valor, on this monument to remember the bravery of Commander Iida, Prime Minister Abe laid a wreath and offered a silent prayer.

Those who accompanied Prime Minister Abe to this event include the following: Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister for Defense; Mr. Koichi Hagiuda, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Seiichi Eto, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister; Mr. Hiroshi Imazu, Member of the House of Representatives; Mr. Ryota Takeda, Member of the House of Representatives (Chief Whip, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Representatives); Mr. Yasuhide Nakayama, Member of the House of Representatives; Lieutenant General David H. Berger, Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific; and Lieutenant General Jerry P. Martinez, Commander, United States Forces Japan.

【Reference】The Memorial for Commander Fusata Iida of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Commander Fusata Iida participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor as a Zero fighter pilot stationed on the aircraft carrier Soryu. During an attack on the Kaneohe base, his fuel tank was hit by a bullet. After giving a hand signal indicating that he was out of fuel, he waved his hands and then flew into a hangar of the Kaneohe base.

The U.S. Navy praised Commander Iida’s valor and respectfully buried his body inside the Kaneohe base. In 1971, 30 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States constructed a memorial for Commander Iida next to the runway at the Kaneohe base, which is Hawaii’s largest U.S. Marine Corps base located in northeastern Oahu. Even today, the memorial is being maintained and managed by the U.S. Marine Corps.

6. Visit to the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) of the United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), the Department of Defense

Prime Minister Abe visited the Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), the Department of Defense, which is an agency specialized in accounting soldiers and others who went missing. Prime Minister Abe received explanations from Brigadier General Mark Spindler, acting Director of DPAA, on this Laboratory. Guided by Dr. John Byrd, Director of the CIL, the Prime Minsiter observed the remains stored within the CIL as well as the examination work for the accounting process.

Those who accompanied Prime Minister Abe to this event include the following: Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister for Defense; Mr. Koichi Hagiuda, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Seiichi Eto, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister; Mr. Hiroshi Imazu, Member of the House of Representatives; Mr. Ryota Takeda, Member of the House of Representatives (Chief Whip, Japan-Hawaii Legislators’ Friendship Association, LDP House of Representatives); Mr. Yasuhide Nakayama, Member of the House of Representatives; and Sergeant Major Michael E. Swam, Senior Enlisted Leader, DPAA.

7. Dinner Banquet with People of Japanese Descent

Prime Minister Abe participated in a dinner banquet with approximately 1,000 people, including representatives of organizations for people of Japanese descent living in Hawaii, and government officials from the State of Hawaii. In his speech, Prime Minister Abe, looking back on the history of the people of Japanese descent in Hawaii, expressed his gratitude once again to the Japanese-Americans for their significant contributions to the Japan-U.S. relationship. The Prime Minister shared the story of Mr. George Ryoichi Ariyoshi, former Governor of the State of Hawaii, meeting a small boy mired in poverty but never lost pride and kindness after the war. He also mentioned that his dream place had been Hawaii since his early childhood and stated the importance of the further development of the special Japan-Hawaii and Japan-U.S. relations.

In response, Mr. David Yutaka Ige, Governor of the State of Hawaii, welcomed the visit of Prime Minister Abe and recognized his visit to Pearl Harbor as highly meaningful. Governor Ige also expressed his expectation for further strengthening of the family-like Japan-Hawaii relationship.

In addition, former Governor Ariyoshi, who made remarks on behalf of the people of Japanese descent in Hawaii, welcomed Prime Minister Abe and expressed his appreciation for Prime Minister’s contributions not only to the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. relationship, but also to the peace and prosperity of the Asia Pacific Region. Mr. Jake Shimabukuro, a well-known musician, played the ukulele. The banquet was held in a very friendly atmosphere.

8. Visit to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center

Prime Minister Abe visited the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and received explanations with regard to the displays from Mr. Daniel Martinez, Chief Historian of the WWII Valor, National Park Service, at the two exhibit galleries.

Those who accompanied Prime Minister Abe to this event include the following: Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister for Defense; Mr. Koichi Hagiuda, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; and Mr. Seiichi Eto, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister.

【Reference】 The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center has two exhibit galleries adjacent to the Center. The exhibit gallery called “The Road to War” explains the situation leading up to the Pacific War, while the “Attack” exhibit gallery displays materials regarding the attack on Pearl Harbor and other relevant incidents.

9. Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting

(1) Introduction

At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Abe expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the fact that, working together with President Obama for the last four years, he was able to deepen the cooperation under the Japan-U.S. Alliance in a wide range of areas, including economy, security, and people-to-people exchanges. Responding to this, President Obama stated that it gave him great pleasure to work together with Prime Minister Abe toward common goals to contribute to the region and the international community. The President also stated that the core of the Alliance is friendship and that he was delighted for being able to hold the last Summit Meeting with Prime Minister Abe in his homeland, Hawaii. He expressed his expectation that the Japan-U.S. Alliance would continue to become even more steadfast.

Prime Minister Abe stated that President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima in May became a phenomenal event that moved a large number of Japanese citizens as the visit conveyed a strong message toward “a world free of nuclear weapons” and symbolized the strength of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, which has the history of more than seven decades since the end of the war. President Obama responded by saying the visit to Hiroshima is one of the most powerful memories and that he is determined to work toward “a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe stated that he will visit Pearl Harbor to console the souls of the deceased as the culmination of the four-year cooperation with President Obama and that he was truly delighted that the Japan-U.S. Alliance has become as ironclad as ever. President Obama sincerely welcomed the decision by Prime Minister Abe to visit Pearl Harbor. The two leaders shared the intention to make this visit a historically significant opportunity to show their determination toward the future never to repeat the horrors of war and to demonstrate the value of the reconciliation between Japan and the United States.

(2) Situations in the Asia Pacific Region

(ⅰ) North Korea

Regarding North Korea, the two leaders shared the recognition on the importance of the implementation of the unprecedentedly strong UN Security Council Resolution. Prime Minister Abe expressed his appreciation for President Obama’s support for the security cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Korea as well as among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea. President Obama stated that while the United States and the Republic of Korea are entering transition periods, the United States thinks highly of the progress in Japan-ROK relations owing to last year’s agreement on the issue of comfort women and that he looks forward to the continued enhancement of the cooperation among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea. The two leaders agreed on the importance of close cooperation among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea.

(ⅱ) Situations in East Asia

Prime Minister Abe expressed his appreciation for President Obama’s understanding and support toward the improvement of Japan-China relations. The Prime Minister also noted that the affirmation that the Senkaku Islands fall within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty as well as the objection against any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands were very strong messages. In addition, concerning the fact that a Chinese aircraft carrier crossed the “first island chain” and entered into the West Pacific for the first time last weekend, the two leaders shared the recognition that it is a movement to be monitored closely from a mid- to long-term perspective.

The two leaders also shared the recognition on the importance of expanding the network of allies, including those among Japan, the United States, and India as well as among Japan, the United States, and Australia, in order to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific and to ensure the stability and prosperity of the region.

(3) The Japan-U.S. Relationship

(ⅰ) General

Prime Minister Abe took pride in what the two leaders have achieved together during the last four years to align Japan’s “Proactive Contribution to Peace” with the U.S. rebalance policy and to explore new frontiers of the Japan-U.S. cooperation. He also stated that such achievements became possible only because the two leaders shared their conviction to contribute to the peace and stability of the region and the world through strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance and created a positive cycle to unceasingly move the Japan-U.S. relationship forward.

President Obama responded by saying that, as epitomized by the G7 Ise Shima Summit, the extremely close cooperation with Prime Minister Abe in fields such as G7, Iraq, Afghanistan, climate change, the Ebola outbreak, and security issues in various regions, was made possible because of the supreme trusting partnership that was formed owing to the Prime Minister’s strong leadership. Furthermore President Obama stated that, in a world of increasing uncertainties, the continuation of robust collaboration between Japan and the United States, which share fundamental values, will give assurance to the international community.

The two leaders shared the recognition that the Japan-U.S. Alliance succeeded in strengthening collaboration with countries that share fundamental values such as liberty, democracy, and the rule of law and in laying the foundation for building a network of allies in the region. They also shared the recognition on the importance of further elevating the Japan-U.S. Alliance to a higher level.

(ⅱ) TPP

Prime Minister Abe noted that it was a great achievement to have reached an agreement on the TPP together with President Obama. The Prime Minister stated that, although the Agreement has not entered into force, Japan will strongly promote free trade and will not let it go backward. The Prime Minister stated that he will make tenacious efforts to reach out to the new U.S. administration as well.

President Obama responded by saying that he will continue his efforts to enhance understanding of the TPP and to promote it.

(ⅲ) Okinawa

Concerning the accident of an Osprey aircraft, after expressing his regret at the accident as well as his sympathy toward those who were injured, Prime Minister Abe asked for further safety be ensured and information be provided. President Obama responded by saying he will maintain close communication.

Prime Minister Abe welcomed the fact that the return of a major portion of the Northern Training Area, which marks the biggest return since the reversion of Okinawa, was realized under the Obama Administration. The Prime Minister mentioned that the total area of the facilities of the U.S. Forces within the Prefecture consequently reduced by approximately 20 percent, which is highly significant as it largely contributes to mitigating the impact on Okinawa.

In addition, Prime Minister Abe stated that there is no change to the position that the relocation of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko is the only solution. The Prime Minister said that, in response to last week’s Supreme Court ruling against the Prefecture, the Governor of Okinawa withdrew its rescindment of the landfill permit and the Government of Japan resumed construction work on 27th. He stated that the Government of Japan will carry on the construction in a steady manner.

President Obama stated that he will cooperate in mitigating the impact on Okinawa. The two leaders welcomed that the agreement in principle has been achieved on the supplementary agreement on the civilian component of the U.S. Forces in Japan.

10. Visit to the USS Arizona Memorial

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    (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
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    (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
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    (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

Prime Minister Abe visited the USS Arizona Memorial with President Obama. Guided by Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., Commander of United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), both leaders entered the Shrine Room, laid wreaths, and offered silent prayers, facing the marble wall on which the names of perished USS Arizona crewmembers are engraved. The leaders then tossed flower petals on the surface of the water and offered prayers at the Ceremonial Well above the sunken USS Arizona.

Those who accompanied Prime Minister Abe to this event include the following: Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister for Defense; and Mr. Koichi Hagiuda, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary.

11. Statements by the Two Leaders

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    (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
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At Kilo Pier, Pearl Harbor, Prime Minister Abe, and then President Obama gave statements with the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri as a backdrop.

Prime Minister Abe extended his sincere condolences to the victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor and all other victims of past wars. The Prime Minister pledged his unwavering vow never to repeat the horrors of war and demonstrated strongly the power of reconciliation. (statement by Prime Minister Abe (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Website) (EnglishOpen a New Window / JapaneseOpen a New Window))

President Obama stated that the Japan-U.S. Alliance is “a reminder that even the greatest wounds of war can give way to friendship and lasting peace.” The President also said as follows: “The most bitter of adversaries can become the strongest of allies. The fruits of peace far outweigh the plunder of war. That is the enduring truth of this hallowed harbor.” (statement by President Obama ( English Open a New Window(TheWhite House of the United States of America Website) / Japanese Open a New Window(Embassy of the United States of America in Japan Website))

After giving the statements, the two leaders walked closer to the survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor and exchanged words with each of them.