A Japanese doctor was among about 150 Americans and Japanese who took part on Wednesday in an annual ceremony using a U.S. soldier's blackened canteen to commemorate all the victims of the Pearl Harbor attack, a day before the 76th anniversary.
This is the 26th year that Hiroya Sugano, a doctor from Shizuoka City, central Japan, has sought to promote peace while commemorating the Japanese attack in Hawaii that left some 2,400 Americans dead.
"I am deeply moved by the fact that the reconciliation between Japan and the United States has progressed to such an extent," Sugano said at the ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial, referring to last year's joint visit to the harbor by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the then U.S. President Barack Obama.
"I would like to continue to convey the nobility of peace to younger generations," added Sugano.
Sugano commemorated the victims by pouring whiskey from the dented and scorched canteen into the waters at the memorial site. The flask was retrieved from a U.S. B-29 bomber which fell in Shizuoka during an airstrike in June 1945.
In the attack on Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona and other three ships were sunk during a sudden assault by the Imperial Japanese forces.
Yosuke Matsuzaki, the eldest son of a Japanese soldier, Mitsuo, who fought in the attack on Pearl Harbor, attended the ceremony for the first time.
"I don't remember my father because he had left home for another operation when I was in my mother's womb. I was reluctant to come here, but now I feel relieved," said the 73-year-old, a resident of Takarazuka in Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan.
The Japan-U.S. joint commemorative ceremony will be held on Friday following one by the U.S. Navy on Thursday.
In December last year, Abe and Obama illustrated their nations' reconciliation and strong relationship by visiting the harbor together.