On December 27, 2016, President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Pearl Harbor together.
Japanese leaders had previously visited Pearl Harbor, the site of the Japanese surprise attack that brought the United States into World War II and killed 2,403 Americans. But it was the first time a Japanese leader visited the USS Arizona Memorial, which is situated above the sunken USS Arizona. Of the 1,512 crewmen on board the USS Arizona, 1,177 were killed during the attack and many are still entombed in the ship.
After visiting the memorial, Abe stated, "As the prime minister of Japan, I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place." He said that the visit to the memorial "brought utte r silence to me," and that Japan "must never repeat the horrors of war again."
President Obama spoke of the US-Japan relationship: "The United States and Japan chose friendship and they chose peace. Over the decades, our alliances have made the nations more successful." Obama visited Hiroshima in May 2016, becoming the first sitting president to do so. Abe's visit to Pearl Harbor is considered a reciprocal gesture.