President Barack Obama is set to meet with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in Hawaii on Tuesday, where the two men will honor American war casualties at Pearl Harbor. The encounter is expected to be the president’s last meeting with a foreign head of state before departing office next month.
Abe, who already paid tribute Monday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, will be the first Japanese leader to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, which was established for the sailors killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago. Abe does not plan to apologize for the incident, much like President Obama did not apologize for the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima during a visit to the city earlier this year.
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Japan hopes to present a strong alliance with the United States amid concerns about China’s expanding military capability. Japan was monitoring a group of Chinese warships that entered the top half of the South China Sea earlier on Monday.
“I am very much looking forward to sending out a strong message on the value of reconciliation, as well as our sincere prayer for the souls of the war dead,” Abe, speaking through an interpreter, said at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.
Abe has called U.S.-Japan relations an “alliance of hope” and said the devastation of war should not be repeated.
Obama has been in Hawaii with the first family on vacation during the holidays. He addressed service members at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Monday, where he reflected on his role as commander in chief as “the privilege of my life.”
“Although this will be my last time addressing you as president, I want you to know that, as a citizen, my gratitude will remain and our commitment to standing by you every step of the way. That won’t stop,” Obama said.
This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard