Former President Barack Obama, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, Governor of Hawaii Josh Green, and Senator Hirono Promote Peace through Pearl Harbor National Memorial and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Sister Park Arrangement
On June 29, 2023, in Tokyo, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and Hiroshima Mayor Matsui Kazumi signed a Sister Park Arrangement between the Pearl Harbor National Memorial of the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior of the United States of America and the Peace Memorial Park of Hiroshima City of Hiroshima Prefecture of Japan.
“These parks, which were once sites of conflict, are now places of reconciliation. While historical battles, they define our character. They can inform and influence our future choices. This new Sister Park Arrangement will expand the community of Americans and Japanese who visit Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, learn their histories, and chart a better pathway forward,” said Ambassador Emanuel. “As I wrote in the guestbook at the Hiroshima Peace Park last year, ‘The lessons of Hiroshima must be our north star guiding us to a world free of war and open to peace.’ That is equally true for Pearl Harbor.”
In a congratulatory note celebrating the signing, President Barack Obama wrote, “My visit to Hiroshima and Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor were key steps in deepening the alliance between our two nations. This agreement today marks another historic accomplishment. By connecting our two peoples to our shared past, we can build a shared future grounded in peace and cooperation.”
In support of the new Arrangement, Governor Josh Green, M.D., State of Hawai’i, stated, “The Pearl Harbor National Memorial marks the location of one of the most pivotal moments in U.S. History. It was the site of the surprise attack that launched the U.S. into the longest global conflict in history, lasting more than half a decade and resulting in the deaths of millions of military personnel and civilians. Today, the memorial serves as a reminder of the devastation caused by a global war that should never be forgotten and never be repeated. We are honored by the commitment of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to sign a Sister Park Agreement with the Pearl Harbor National Memorial that will serve to expand cooperation between the parks in the promotion of peace, culture, tourism, and education so that the world will always remember to protect future generations from global conflict and champion peace.”
U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, Hawai’i, said, “I’ve visited Hiroshima several times throughout the years. During on one visit, I brought cranes folded by children in Hawaii to the Hiroshima Children’s Memorial as a sign of peace. Much like those cranes, this agreement is also a symbol of peace between our nations, as we further strengthen ties between Hiroshima and Hawaii. These parks commemorate our history and serve as a reminder of the past as we work to build a brighter and stronger and more collaborative future. This agreement reminds us that there is power in partnership, and I’m grateful for the partnership that made this moment possible.”
Under this Sister Park Arrangement, the two parks will engage in exchanges to share experiences regarding resources needed to restore historic structures and landscapes; the use of virtual reality and digital imagery for preservation and education; best practices to engage in youth education; and tourism management.
This is the second Sister Park Arrangement between the United States and Japan. The first, signed in 2016, is between Gettysburg National Military Park and Gifu Sekigahara Battlefield Memorial Museum. Both battlefields were pivotal in American and Japanese civil wars, respectively.