Japanese emperor won't visit Pearl Harbor: palace


June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 13, 2009 at 1:11 PM EDT

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will not visit Pearl Harbor during their planned tour of Canada and Hawaii this summer, a palace official said Friday.

"The purpose of the visits is not for the repose of people's souls," said a palace spokesman, denying an earlier report that the couple would visit the site of Japan's World War II surprise attack on the United States.

The royal couple will travel to Canada and Hawaii in July for goodwill visits in a trip approved by the cabinet Friday.

Canada invited the couple last year and a Hawaiian scholarship foundation, named after Akihito, invited them for its 50th anniversary.

Kyodo News reported earlier this month that the couple would "unofficially" visit Pearl Harbor, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Lower house Speaker Yohei Kono, widely known for his pacifist stance, visited Pearl Harbor in December last year, making him the highest-ranking Japanese official to do so.

Kono made the trip after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year visited Hiroshima, site of the first US atomic attack in 1945, becoming the most senior sitting US official to do so.

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