Obama Highlights Bilateral Choice of Friendship, Peace (News)


Honolulu, Dec. 27 (Jiji Press)—US President Barack Obama on Tuesday stressed friendship between the United States and Japan and highlighted the strength of their bilateral alliance, in a speech he delivered at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

"After one of the most horrific chapters in human history—one that took not tens of thousands, but tens of millions of lives—with ferocious fighting across this ocean—the United States and Japan chose friendship and peace," Obama said, after laying wreath together with Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō at the USS Arizona Memorial for the victims of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Praising the postwar alliance between the two nations, Obama said: "The most bitter of adversaries can become the strongest of allies. The fruits of peace always outweigh the plunder of war."

Obama called the harbor "a sacred place" for Americans, especially those from Hawaii. He specifically referred to the names of servicemen who courageously fought in World War II, including the late Daniel Inouye, a Japanese-American who later made efforts to promote the Japan-US relationship as a senator, and showed gratitude to all of them.

He also cited the episode of Captain William Callahan of the USS Missouri, who ordered that the body of a Japanese kamikaze pilot be laid to rest with military honors, wrapped in a Japanese flag sewn by US sailors. "It insists that we strive to be what our Japanese friends call otagai no tame ni—'With and for each other,'" Obama said.

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