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Guess who plans to visit Pearl Harbor this summer?

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko plan to visit Pearl Harbor around July, sources close to Japan-U.S. relations said Sunday.

The visit to the scene of Japan’s surprise attack that ushered in the Pacific War would take place on the Imperial Couple’s way back from an official trip to Canada planned for this summer, with the Japanese and U.S. governments working to finalize the schedule, the sources said.

Such an event would symbolize the postwar reconciliation between the two countries as no sitting Japanese prime minister has gone to Pearl Harbor. House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono visited in December.

The Imperial Couple has a track record of making pilgrimages to war-linked places, including Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Okinawa in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, and Saipan, a commonwealth territory of the United States, in 2005 for the 60th anniversary.

The Emperor and Empress weighed a visit to Pearl Harbor when they made an official trip to the United States in June 1994 and stayed in Hawaii, but decided against it in light of criticism that it would constitute political exploitation of the Emperor.

I honestly don’t know how it could be political exploitation. Emperor Hirohito visited the United States back in the 1970’s. The visit this summer is notable, but I got no feelings one way or the other. I’m sure it will handled in a solemn way.

Hat tip- Japundit

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