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The Big Story

Pearl Harbor 80 years on: Lessons and legacies

Japan and U.S. struggle to put fraught history to rest

NAOYA YOSHINO, Nikkei political editor | Japan

TOKYO -- Dec. 7 marks the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The surprise attack, which came on Dec. 8 Japan time and triggered the Pacific War, culminated in the total surrender of Japan four years later, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

But it took until 2016 for the countries, treaty allies for six decades, to revisit this fraught episode of their past. That year, then-U.S. President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima and then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went to Pearl Harbor, important steps in healing the remaining wounds between Japan and the U.S.

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