Japanese Prime Minister Abe in Hawaii – correction

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having a moment of silence after the laying of the wreath

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe having a moment of silence after the laying of the wreath

Once again – correcting the media……

In May, President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in 1945 and soon compelled Japan’s surrender, ending World War II. It was a historic moment: Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city.

Now, Abe is repaying the favor.  On Tuesday, he will accompany Obama to Pearl Harbor, the site of the Japanese attack 75 years ago that led the United States to join World War II.

But is Abe’s visit quite as historic? When it was announced in early December, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said Abe would be the first sitting Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor since World War II. News outlets repeated this assertion, including The Washington Post.

But quickly afterward, things began to look a little more complicated. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper soon reported that Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii, home to Pearl Harbor, in 1951 when flying back home from San Francisco. He made a public visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, which honors American war dead, and a more private visit to Pearl Harbor.

 Aug. 31, 1951, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, center right, accompanied by his daughter, Kazuko, center left, is greeted by Adm. Arthur Radford, left, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Joseph R. Farrington, a delegate of the U.S. Congress for the Territory of Hawaii, during an arrival ceremony for Yoshida in Honolulu. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii in 1951.

Aug. 31, 1951, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, center right, accompanied by his daughter, Kazuko, is greeted by Adm. Arthur Radford ( l), commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Joseph R. Farrington, a delegate of the U.S. Congress for the Territory of Hawaii, during an arrival ceremony for Yoshida in Honolulu. The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Yoshida had stopped in Hawaii in 1951.

The Pearl Harbor visit was not noted widely by the U.S. press, but it appeared in the Japanese press.

Yoshida told a reporter from the Yomiuri Shimbun that he had been “moved” by the visit. It also turns out that the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander at the time, Adm. Arthur Radford, was present. Radford later wrote that the visit was awkward for Yoshida and that they mostly discussed his dog.

Now more developments indicate that Abe may not be the second sitting prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor, either. Last week, the Hawaii Hochi — a dual-language Japanese-English newspaper based in Hawaii — suggested that two other Japanese leaders may have visited Pearl Harbor in the 1950s.

The newspaper posted images to its Facebook account that showed two front pages from its archive. One claimed that Ichiro Hatoyama visited the harbor on Oct. 29, 1956, where he was welcomed by a 19-gun salute and a band performing Japan’s national anthem. Another headline says that Nobusuke Kishi, Abe’s grandfather, visited the harbor on June 28, 1957, where he laid a wreath at the flagpole at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The Japanese government has now been forced to change its story. After Yoshida’s visit to Pearl Harbor was made public again, the government asserted that as the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor was not constructed until 1962, Abe will still be the first to visit the most famous monument. “He will also be the first to do so with an American president,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Sheila Smith, a senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, says she was “taken aback” by the initial mistake.

“If any organization should know its history, its MOFA,” she wrote via email, using an acronym to refer to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. “I’m also surprised that Abe himself or rather his office didn’t correct the record as he is a careful student of his grandfather’s diplomacy towards the U.S.”

Article found in Stars and Stripes magazine; by Adam Taylor | The Washington Post | Published: December 27, 2016


News Corrections Humor – 



Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Bossi – Medford, MA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Attilio Cardamone – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Real DeGuire – Tecumseh, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO, HMCS Hunter Haida & Algonquinplaying-taps

Pat Farwell – Skagway, AK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot

John Hayes – Elyria, OH; US Navy, WWII

Thelburn Knepp – Peoria, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 89th Infantry Division

Jack Messemer – Phoenix, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW / Korea, Sr. Sgt. Major (Ret. 41 years)

Sam Patane – Kirland, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQS/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Div.

Donald Patterson – Wichita, KA; US Army, Korea

Liz Smith – Lincolnshire, ENG; Women’s Royal Naval Service, WWII, CBI, (beloved actress)


About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 28, 2016, in Home Front, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 75 Comments.

  1. More ‘fake news’ hunh. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I listened to both speeches. I thought the matter was healthy and positive. I wondered if Barry O would mention A-bomb but neither did.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A mistake in the newspapers? Or on the internet? Or on TV? Never!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fake news. Oh well, we have a lot of them. The real news is the fact that Obama is putting his country in danger just to make the things more difficult for Trump. Such a disappointment he is, and I was so delighted when he was elected!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Laughing at your typos comments. Happens too often to the best of us! About this article, I’m becoming a bit of a vigilante about the false news stories on Facebook. Readers (as well as us writers!) have a responsibility to make sure we understand what we’re reading before we share it with the universe.

    I’d been wondering about Japanese officials visiting Pearl before this, so thanks for setting the record straight!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure, RoseMary. All too often we take the media at their word, but how often, even when they show a video, we only get a few seconds. Many times, by showing it out of context, we make a false conclusion. I’m glad you look into things before making up your mind.


  6. Interesting … but as a famous line during the holiday goes … “It’s the thought that counts.” Japanese leaders are visiting the area their country once bombed. That should be it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • In this post, I merely wanted to set the record straight. The media tries so hard to get a “big” story on slow news days that they fail to double-check their facts. Fake news is becoming a problem – this was just an example of setting thing right.
      I appreciate you visit and participation in the discussion here!


  7. Journalism today bears no resemblance to years ago, facts and figures are thrown out there willy nilly, the reader actually has to research modern news for the truth.
    Somehow I don’t find Obama’s Hiroshima visit quite unique, just my sentiments gp, but I think any other President would have presented a more symbolic reverence to errors of the past on both sides, Obama has more solemnity opening a golf game.
    Strictly only my view gp, no disrespect intended to the American peoples President.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The press has to check several times the news and not always writing things they hear or read

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Perhaps it was too soon to accept a visiting Japanese official on a place made sacred by a Japanese attack. Japan was still occupied by America troops, after all, until April 28, 1952, and many of those who served in the Pacific War, lost family members in the fight to defeat Japan, were POWs held in horrific conditions in Japanese camps still were young adults largely by the mid- to late 1950s.

    I know it is fashionable to blame the media for all the ills of the world and doubt the veracity of what they publish or to suspect the hide the truth from us, but the reality often is as simple as there were bigger stories the day events happened that pushed other events to the nether regions of the paper where only the most voracious readers saw the lesser news.

    What was the big news of October 29, 1956, for example, that might have driven a Japanese visit to Pearl Harbor off the front page? Take a look:


    The Hungarian Revolution against the Soviet occupation began on October 23rd, and was suppressed by November 10th, during which that news could well have pushed a Japanese visit to the back pages, easily.

    Don’t forget 1956 was an election year, and that the election was around the corner, a huge news topic of the day. In a time when coronary care was limited, Eisenhower (who had a heart attack on April 24, 1955) was a candidate whose health was a huge concern, and that may well have made campaign coverage something that bumped a Japanese visit to the back pages as well.

    What was big on June 28, 1957? Could have been further developments on the aftermath of Hurricane Audrey, which killed 390 and was the worst Category 4 hurricane since the 1930s. The news wasn’t instantaneous in those days, and, though the storm started days earlier, it may well have been slow to hit the papers in much detail until later in the week, say the day another Japanese visit to Pearl Harbor got pushed off the front pages:


    There is no short of it, but it is important not to judge how a significant story in 2016 was misreported. A quick computer check to find significant events of the past might not pull up the earlier visits, depending on how the question was asked.

    For that matter, without an outright apology for the attack, something Japanese didn’t then (or now) see in the significant way we do – specifically, as the cause of US entry into WWII and as a craven act by the aggressive Imperial Navy – newspapermen of the era might not have seen the visits as worthy of noting.

    At least one reporter working on my local paper at the time was on a ship on its way to Japan for the invasion that the atomic bombs stopped. He was grateful to be spared that task, as were many others. I’m sure he wouldn’t have accepted an apology from any Japanese leader at that time, nor would many Americans. For that generation, forgiveness was not likely to happen just yet, if ever. They saw too much, experienced too much, suffered too much, and a simple wreath or visit to that place by any Japanese 0would have seemed a sacrilege that soon after the war.


    • I appreciate you voicing your opinion on this subject. Although I fail to see how Operation Kadesh or the hurricane should have overtaken any other news. Granted they deserved front page headlines, but being as wounds were still fresh in the ’50’s, you’d think a visit from Japan would be mentioned and that “Reporters” of today would have double-checked their info. I know newspapers and TV media have researchers for just that purpose. I did not intend to to imply that journalists hold back info per se, today’s media holds back the complete story. You have to admit that as TV media grew – it was all about the ratings – and with reporters, it was the scoop or story that would sell the most.
      I totally feel myself that FDR caused Pearl Harbor by putting a choke-hold on Japan (he couldn’t bait Germany into it.). so perhaps they don’t feel an apology is warranted. I was personally taken back when Obama apologized for what Truman did – and now our pres. is baiting Russia in much the same fashion – God help us!
      I apologize Doug if you feel offended, but I think you can admit that the reporting you did back then is not exactly the repetitious stories you hear or read today.


  10. Well done GP. And yes, RIP Journalism…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for sharing the facts.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I always think that typos indicate excitement and enthusiasm in the writer.
    (At least that’s my excuse!)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yet another case of having to double check news these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am currently watching a documentary about the attack on Pearl Harbor as regards the various failures of Naval Intelligence. If they are true, I really feel sorry for Admiral Kimmel who was made the scapegoat for everything. He could have committed suicide because of the misdeeds of others…always providing it’s true, of course.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I recommend John Toland’s book, “Infamy.” The author puts facts on the table that most are unaware of.


    • Sir, evidence points to failure on the part of FDR. He fired Adm. Richardson who fought against FDR – FDR wanted to move the fleet from safe harbor San Diego to Pearl. Richardson, being an expert on Japanese naval warfare and her war ships, foresaw the danger of being moored at Pearl. Its an island for starters and all fuel had to be tankered in, for starters. Kimmel was selected by FDR to replace Richardson. FDR then withheld vital information from Kimmel, decoded from Japanese naval and embassorial secdet coded messages. They were destroyed when things happened – just like Hillary’s emails.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Good job correcting it! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  16. No comment… about both Obama going to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor. We have cops getting killed here – THAT needs his attention. I do know my Hiroshima cousins – who were exposed to the blast – felt he had no true value to being there except for publicity.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is really interesting. In cases like this, it can be tempting to imagine that factors other than historical accuracy play a role. I can think of a few reasons why both Washington and Japan might have preferred this to be billed as the first, historic return. No matter, I suppose. The ones who deserved to be honored were honored, and perhaps a few people stopped to ponder what happened there.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. It gets murkier by the minute.
    But regardless of truth we still need to credit the guy on the ground for his efforts. I’m now reading a quite clinical study on the PH attack (pub’d 2011) and shall integrate that with what we now know thanks to your recent post—


    I still have to ask, and shall keep on asking: Would we go off and fight in their wars if we had all the facts?

    And “if they want to have a war—why don’t they go off to fight it?” (I’ll be more than happy to hold their hat and coat …)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure you have heard the saying, “History books are written by the winners.” No country wants to look bad so certain facts are omitted or words twisted. You know that. As far as would we go to war… remember – no matter what the question, the answer is always money!

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Thanks for publicizing the error. We seem to have made a lot of historic errors in the last 8 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Interesting article and you think they would have caught that. Loved the Charlie Brown, also. Glad that it’s not ruined…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh my, it’s great to set the record straight. Love Charlie Brown’s take on this. 🙂 Great way to start my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. No wonder earlier visits were not highly publiced in the U.S. and I can even understand them almost being forgotten in Japan. The early 1950s were still very close to the war’s end. I can believe the visit was awkward for both Yoshida and Radford yet it took 65 more years for one of our presidents to got to Hiroshima. Interesting post. I always learn from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Well this is interesting information – most of us just took it at face value that PM Abe was the first. Thanks for correcting the record.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m with Charlie Brown on those darn typos

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Much appreciated, Ian!


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