Japan, U.S. hold joint ceremony to commemorate victims of Pearl Harbor attack

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Rear Adm. Timothy Kott, commander of the U.S. Navy Region Hawaii, second from right, and Japanese Consul General in Honolulu Yutaka Aoki hang wreaths during a Pearl Harbor memorial ceremony on the Hawaiian island of Oahu on Thursday.

HONOLULU — Japan and the United States held a joint ceremony Thursday to commemorate the victims of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor 80 years ago on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

About 2,400 people lost their lives on the U.S. side, and 65 Japanese servicemen were killed in the surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese military on Dec. 7 (Dec. 8 in Japan) 1941.

At Thursday’s ceremony, Japanese Consul General in Honolulu Yutaka Aoki said he hoped Pearl Harbor would be remembered in the world not only as a place where a war started but also as a symbol of reconciliation and friendship.

About 60 people observed a moment of silence at the ceremony.

Kenneth Saiki, 80, a third-generation Japanese American who was born shortly before the attack, said that as a Japanese American, his heart hurts on Dec. 7.

Saiki said he remains uncertain about the future despite the good relationship between Japan and the United States, but he stressed the importance for the two countries to continue holding the ceremony jointly.

The two countries have co-hosted the annual memorial since 2016.

Because of the pandemic, no participants traveled from Japan to attend this year’s ceremony, which was held in person for the first time in two years.