Japanese Leader’s Pearl Harbor Visit May Not Be a First, After All
TOKYO — When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this week that he would visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama, news organizations around the world reported that the visit would be the first ever by a Japanese premier to the naval base that his country attacked in 1941.
But it seems that the Japanese foreign ministry was incorrect about the trip being a historic first. Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida stopped in Hawaii in 1951 on his way home to Tokyo from San Francisco, where he had signed a treaty to normalize relations between Japan and most of the victorious Allies of World War II.
During his brief time on the island of Oahu, he paid a formal visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, a mountaintop shrine dedicated to American war dead, and, it now appears, made a less public stop at Pearl Harbor.
他在欧胡岛做了短暂停留，正式访问了太平洋纪念公墓(National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific)，那是山顶上的一处供奉美国阵亡者的圣地。现在看来，他在珍珠港做了低调停留。
A search of Japanese newspaper archives turned up a 1951 dispatch from the daily Yomiuri Shimbun. The newspaper reported that the premier had indeed gone to the American naval base at Pearl Harbor.
No ceremonies or other public events appear to have taken place while Mr. Yoshida was at the base. Only 10 years after the surprise attack, a Japanese leader making a splashy appearance there could have stirred resentment in the United States.
Mr. Yoshida, who died in 1967, told a Yomiuri reporter who was traveling with him that the experience had left him “moved.”
Japanese officials have not confirmed outright that Mr. Yoshida’s Pearl Harbor visit took place. But they have been qualifying their descriptions of Mr. Abe’s planned trip.
“Prime Minister Abe will be the first to visit the Arizona Memorial and the first to go to Pearl Harbor with an American president,” Yoshihide Suga, a spokesman for Mr. Abe’s government, said on Thursday.
“安倍首相将是第一个参观亚利桑那号纪念馆(Arizona Memorial)、第一个与一位美国总统一起前往珍珠港的日本首相，”安倍政府的发言人菅义伟(Yoshihide Suga)周四说。
He was referring to the monument built in 1962 over the wreckage of the battleship Arizona, sunk by Japanese planes.
The New York Times, which was among the news organizations to report that Mr. Abe would be the first Japanese prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor, also covered Mr. Yoshida’s stop in Hawaii but did not mention that he went to Pearl Harbor. Other Japanese publications left out the visit, too.
But The Associated Press reported it, saying in an article dated Sept. 13, 1951, that Mr. Yoshida “yesterday paid the first official Japanese call on Pearl Harbor since Dec. 7, 1941.”
Toshikazu Inoue, the president of Gakushuin University in Tokyo, who has written extensively about Mr. Yoshida, said political conditions at the time probably contributed to the low-key nature of the visit.
东京学习院大学(Gakushuin University)校长井上寿一(Toshikazu Inoue)写过很多关于吉田茂的文章，他表示，那次访问之所以低调可能是当时的政治环境造成的。
The signing of the treaty “was the main focus of attention, as a historic event and symbol that Japan had reconciled with the U.S. and rejoined the international community,” he said.