Seventy-five years ago today, Pearl Harbor was attacked, beginning a long war in the Pacific that resulted in many lives lost. The United States and Japan have become solid allies since then, with a mutual understanding that has grown deeper over the past seven decades. Few events have been as emblematic of the growth of the two countries’ ties as President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima this past spring and the decision by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to visit Pearl Harbor in late December with President Obama.
It is significant that the two leaders are demonstrating their continued commitment to strong bilateral relations with this important summit in Hawaii, not only for historic reasons, but also because it is a special place that has strong ties to both countries, both geographically and culturally. This meeting in the middle of the Pacific symbolizes how robust U.S.-Japan relations can benefit the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.
The U.S.-Japan Council aims to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations through people-to-people connections. The strong personal relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Abe has resulted in this year’s reciprocal visits. Both leaders took an important, courageous step forward that will have a lasting impact. Today, as the world reflects on the lessons of the past 75 years, it is critical to reaffirm the importance of maintaining worldwide peace and stability for generations to come.