WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on April 29, House Speaker John Boehner’s press office said Thursday.
“Prime Minister Abe will become the first Japanese leader to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress, and we are proud to host this historic event,” a statement from the office said. Boehner issued an invitation Thursday.
Abe is making an eight-day official visit to the United States beginning April 26 and will hold talks with President Barack Obama on April 28.
“His address will provide an opportunity for the American people to hear from one of our closest allies about ways we can expand our cooperation on economic and security priorities,” the statement said.
There had been reservations expressed in some quarters about Abe addressing Congress.
A group of U.S. World War II veteransand their relatives have said Abe should only be invited to Congress for a speech if he admits Japan’s historical responsibility for its wartime conduct, a legislative source said.
A South Korean Foreign Ministry official urged Abe to include in his congressional speech that he has inherited a view held by past governments to show a genuine reflection on past history.