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Obama, Japan's Abe decry 'horrors of war' at Pearl Harbor


              Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, with U.S. President Barack Obama, speaks at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Tuesday, Dec. 27...

              U.S. President Barack Obama listens as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks on Kilo Pier overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial, par...

              Pearl Harbor survivors wait for President Barack Obama to speak at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Tuesday, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, after 
Presid...

              President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ride in the stern of the CINCPACFLT (Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet Bar...

              With the USS Arizona Memorial in the background, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Tuesday, ...

              President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ride in the stern of the CINCPACFLT (Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet Bar...

              President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial, part...

              President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial, part...

              President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo shake hands as they are photographed at the start of a bilateral meeting at C...

              The Japanese flag flutters in front of the USS Arizona Memorial at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in Hawaii on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. ...

              With the Japanese flag fluttering in the background, Pearl Harbor survivor Sterling Cale speaks to media at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hic...

              President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrive to participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memo...

              FILE - In this Dec. 7, 19041 file photo, the battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese sur...

              FILE - In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, provided by the U.S. Navy, a small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew member from the water ...

              President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo shake hands as they are photographed at the start of a bilateral meeting at C...

              Pearl Harbor survivor Al Rodrigues, 96, is seen in his home, Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, in Kailua, Hawaii. Rodrigues says he welcomes the v...

              U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pause after tossing flower petals into the Wishing Well at the USS A...

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, with U.S. President Barack Obama, speaks at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Tuesday, Dec. 27...

U.S. President Barack Obama listens as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks on Kilo Pier overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial, par...

Pearl Harbor survivors wait for President Barack Obama to speak at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Tuesday, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, after Presid...

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ride in the stern of the CINCPACFLT (Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet Bar...

With the USS Arizona Memorial in the background, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Tuesday, ...

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ride in the stern of the CINCPACFLT (Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet Bar...

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial, part...

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial, part...

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo shake hands as they are photographed at the start of a bilateral meeting at C...

The Japanese flag flutters in front of the USS Arizona Memorial at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in Hawaii on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. ...

With the Japanese flag fluttering in the background, Pearl Harbor survivor Sterling Cale speaks to media at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hic...

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrive to participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memo...

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 19041 file photo, the battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese sur...

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, provided by the U.S. Navy, a small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew member from the water ...

President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo shake hands as they are photographed at the start of a bilateral meeting at C...

Pearl Harbor survivor Al Rodrigues, 96, is seen in his home, Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, in Kailua, Hawaii. Rodrigues says he welcomes the v...

U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pause after tossing flower petals into the Wishing Well at the USS A...

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — The leaders of Japan and the United States sought to remind the world that even the most bitter enemies can become allies, during a historic pilgrimage to the hallowed waters of Pearl Harbor.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not apologize, but conceded Japan "must never repeat the horrors of war again."

Seventy-five years after Japan's surprise attack, Abe and President Barack Obama peered down Tuesday at the rusting wreckage of the USS Arizona, clearly visible in the tranquil, teal water. In a show of respect for the war dead, Obama and Abe dropped purple petals into the water and stood in silence.

More than 1,000 U.S. war dead remain entombed in the submerged ship, which Japan struck as part of the devastating attack that killed more than 2,300 Americans and sent America marching into World War II.

"As the prime minister of Japan, I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place," Abe said later at nearby Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

That was the closest Abe would get to an apology for the attack. And it was enough for Obama, who also declined to apologize seven months ago when he became America's first sitting president to visit Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb in a bid to end the war.

It was enough, too, for Alfred Rodrigues, a U.S. Navy veteran who survived the attack. The 96-year-old said he had no hard feelings and added, "War is war."

"They were doing what they were supposed to do, and we were doing what we were supposed to do," Rodrigues said before the visit.

In the years after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. incarcerated roughly 120,000 Japanese-Americans in internment camps before dropping atomic bombs in 1945 that killed some 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki.

Since the war, the U.S. and Japan have built a powerful alliance that both sides say has grown during Obama's tenure, including strengthened military ties. Yet there are questions about whether the relationship will fray under President-elect Donald Trump, a possibility neither Obama nor Abe addressed.

Abe, who became Japan's first leader to visit Pearl Harbor with a U.S. president, said the visit "brought utter silence to me." His remarks capped a day that was carefully choreographed by the U.S. and Japan to show a strong and growing alliance between former foes.

Japanese officials said that in their talks, Abe and Obama agreed to closely monitor the movements of China's first and sole aircraft carrier, which has sailed into the western Pacific for the first time.

The Japanese officials also said the two leaders affirmed that movements by the Chinese carrier Liaoning "warrant close attention from mid-term and long-term perspectives."

White House officials who accompanied Obama to Hawaii did not comment on the announcement from the Japanese, and in an unusual move, they didn't release a written description of the meeting. But in Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. recognizes lawful uses of the sea, and the same rights apply to the U.S., China and other nations.

He said, "as we often make the case with our own naval vessels sailing ... in those same waters, it's freedom of navigation."

Obama and Abe started Tuesday's activities here with a formal meeting at a another nearby military base, in what the White House said was likely Obama's last meeting with a foreign leader before leaving office in January. It was a bookend of sorts for the president, who nearly eight years ago invited Abe's predecessor to be the first leader he hosted at the White House.

Speaking after he and Abe laid green-and-peach wreaths at the memorial, Obama called Pearl Harbor a sacred place and said that "even the deepest wounds of war can give way to friendship and lasting peace." It's a notion Obama tried throughout his presidency to put into practice, as he reached out to former adversaries Iran, Myanmar and Cuba.

Japanese leaders have visited Pearl Harbor before, but Abe was the first to go to the memorial above the sunken USS Arizona, where a marbled wall lists the names of U.S. troops killed in the Japanese attack.

"There's this sense of guilt, if you like, among Japanese, this 'Pearl Harbor syndrome,' that we did something very unfair," said Tamaki Tsukada, a minister in the Embassy of Japan in Washington. He said he believes Abe's visit would "absolve that kind of complex that Japanese people have."

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Associated Press writers Brian Skoloff in Kailua, Hawaii, and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP