Japan’s Abe pays respects at Hawaii memorials on eve of Pearl Harbor trip

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday stopped at several memorials in Hawaii, one day before he visits the site of the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor during a trip intended to show a strong alliance between his country and the United States.

Abe made no public remarks and stood in silence before a wreath of flowers at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, a memorial to those who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Abe, joined by two of his Cabinet members, bowed his head before wreaths of white flowers and greenery laid at the feet of stone monuments at Makiki Cemetery in Honolulu dedicated to Japanese who settled in Hawaii in the 1800s.

The crowning event of the trip comes Tuesday, when Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Pearl Harbor, the site of the Japanese attack 75 years ago that drew the United States into World War Two. Obama, who was born in Hawaii, is spending his winter vacation there.

Abe does not plan to apologize for the 1941 attack but to console the souls of those who died in the war, his aides said this month.

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.

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