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Few Japanese Tourists, Thousands of U

December 7, 1991

Few Japanese Tourists, Thousands of U.S. Vets Visit Arizona Memorial With AM-Japan-Pearl Harbor, Bjt

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) _ Japanese tourists and U.S. veterans of World War II visited a war museum but didn’t fraternize Friday on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Japan’s attack that brought the two nations to war.

By not mingling, the two groups underscored the tense undercurrent throughout the week’s ceremonies that will climax Saturday with President Bush’s visit.

Glenn Lane, 73, of Oak Harbor, Wash., looked over a glass-enclosed model of Pearl Harbor as it appeared from the air the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese planes launched an attack that crippled the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

″I think they’ve got a right to be here and a right to look at history,″ said Lane, a radioman aboard the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941. ″But I don’t know what their country is teaching them right now. They should have learned that nobody can conquer the world.″

Behind Lane was a Japanese tour group looking over a model of the battleship Arizona, which was sunk in the attack.

During the attack, Lane said he was blown from the Arizona by a massive explosion and swam through oily water to the battleship USS Nevada. Of the 2,404 killed that day, 1,177 were from the Arizona.

Thousands of U.S. veterans from different wars visited the museum in the USS Arizona Memorial on Friday. But fewer than 100 Japanese tourists came, according to rangers, who said their turnout is always low.

Although Japanese comprise a third of Hawaii’s tourists, they make up less than 3 percent of the USS Arizona Memorial visitors, according to the National Park Service.

Isamu Shigehara, 64, of Tottori, Japan, was in junior high school when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. On Friday, sitting under a canopy outside the museum as rain fell, Shigehara said he remembered feeling elated at hearing the news of the Japanese success.

″Mine was the education of militarism. I was strongly influenced by that,″ he said in Japanese.

His feelings have since changed and, he said, ″Today, I have a great regret about that. I hope for forever peace.″

But Shigehara, who didn’t know his visit was coinciding with the Pearl Harbor anniversary when he made travel plans, said the United States should also face up to the horror of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Bush has said he sees no need to apologize to Japan for that.

″Both sides have to take responsibility,″ Shigehara said.

Toshihiko Hatakeyama, a 17-year-old Japanese high school student visiting the museum, said the United States should apologize for dropping the atomic bomb at the same time Japan apologizes for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

″Many people in Japan are still suffering from the atomic bombs,″ he said.

Bush is to visit the Arizona Memorial and the National Cemetery of the Pacific on Saturday on Hawaii’s main island of Oahu, where Honolulu is located.

Update hourly