World

Abe won't apologise on visit to Pearl Harbour

TOKYO Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) will honour the war dead but will not apologise when he becomes the first Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor this month, a top government spokesman said yesterday.

The move follows Mr Barack Obama's historic May trip to Hiroshima, the first by a sitting US president, where he spoke of victims' suffering but offered no apology for dropping the world's first nuclear bomb, AFP reported.

Mr Abe will pay his respects to those who died in Japan's surprise 1941 attack at the US naval base in Hawaii, which triggered World War II in the Pacific, and highlight a decades-old security alliance between the former enemies.

"The purpose of this visit is to commemorate war dead, not to apologise," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular press briefing in Tokyo, Japan.

"The visit will serve as an opportunity to demonstrate to future generations our resolve not to repeat the horror and suffering of war, as well as an opportunity to showcase the reconciliation between Japan and the US," he added.

US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter, in Japan as part of his last Asian tour, echoed those sentiments yesterday.

"The US-Japan alliance has never been stronger than it is today," Mr Carter told reporters during a visit to a Japanese destroyer.

"It's a two-way stream, equal benefits for both countries. That's necessary because we face many common responsibilities and threats," he added, without elaborating. - AFP