Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit this month to Pearl Harbor will be a historic gesture that represents the strength of the Japan-U.S. alliance and the evolution of the bilateral relationship since World War II.

But the trip is also rooted in pragmatism amid uncertainties surrounding the incoming administration of outspoken and erratic U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

Experts have lauded the timing of the visit, which will coincide with the final summit between Abe and outgoing President Barack Obama on Dec. 26 and 27. Although it had been in the planning stages since the two nations marked the 70th anniversary of World War II's end — far ahead of Trump's electoral victory — they say the meeting is expected to send a message to Trump that the alliance in its current form works.