Abe’s important message of peace

In his Counterpoint column headlined “Is Abe the wrong messenger for Pearl Harbor?” in the Dec. 25 edition, Jeff Kingston makes many factual errors, and his assertions, based on misunderstandings, are very arbitrary.

There is no proof to suggest that “Pearl Harbor” is synonymous with 9/11 in the American lexicon, which is just one example from the beginning of the op-ed. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe didn’t visit Pearl Harbor as a mere gesture. Rather, in his statement at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 27, he made it clear as the representative of the Japanese government that we should never repeat the tragedy of war again.

Kingston has speculated on Abe’s stance on history since Abe was elected to the Diet in 1993. But Abe’s ideas about World War II and the 70 years following 1945 were clearly articulated in his statement issued on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war in August 2015. Also, since the statement was actually a government statement approved by the Cabinet, it is wrong to single out Abe personally.

There are many other factual errors in Kingston’s writing, but I would refrain from pointing each one out due to the lack of space granted for this letter. Instead, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the significance of Abe’s recent visit to Pearl Harbor.

The sitting prime minister of Japan and the president of the United States visited Pearl Harbor together to console the spirits of the war dead, demonstrating the power of reconciliation between Japan and the United States to the world. This visit was of great historical significance.

Abe, in his statement, offered sincere and everlasting condolences to all the victims of the previous war, including those who became victims following the Pearl Harbor attack, pledged his unwavering vow that the horrors of war must never be repeated again, and appealed to the importance of the spirit of tolerance and the power of reconciliation.

Obama responded to Abe’s statement, saying that the Japan-U.S. Alliance reminds us that even the deepest wounds of war can give way to friendship and lasting peace.

Abe’s wishes for peace have consistently been expressed in his statements such as the one issued on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. Kingston questions Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor, but I strongly hope that readers will focus on this message delivered by the prime minister at Pearl Harbor, and Japan’s sincere commitment to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the wider international community, based on the solid Japan-U.S. alliance.

Yasuhisa Kawamura
PRESS SECRETARY, JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTRY

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.