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Japanese first lady pays tribute at Pearl Harbour

Published 22/08/2016

Akie Abe, pictured in 2014, has visited Pearl Harbour (AP)
Akie Abe, pictured in 2014, has visited Pearl Harbour (AP)

Japan's first lady has visited Pearl Harbour in Hawaii for the first time to pay tribute to the victims of the Japanese attack 75 years ago.

Akie Abe said in a Facebook entry that she had visited the USS Arizona Memorial.

"I offered flowers and a prayer," she wrote in the short message.

In one of several photos also posted on Facebook, Ms Abe posed with an American veteran who survived the attack.

She did not elaborate on her visit, which came amid speculation about a similar trip by her husband, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said the first lady was in Hawaii to attend an environmental conference. He declined to comment further, saying it was a private visit.

Speculation about a possible visit by Mr Abe to Pearl Harbour has grown since US President Barack Obama paid tribute in May to the victims of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima.

No serving Japanese prime minister has visited Pearl Harbour.

"I've come to Hawaii many times, but I've never visited Pearl Harbour. As I think about the past war more often over the past year as we mark 70 years since the end of the war, I've felt strongly about visiting the site," Ms Abe was quoted as saying in an online Gendai Business magazine article linked to her Facebook entry.

"I wanted to see the site myself and offer a prayer for those who died."

AP

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