Australia

Shinzo Abe becomes first Japanese PM to visit Darwin

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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has laid a wreath at the Darwin Cenotaph War Memorial, 77 years since Japan's military bombed it.

Shinzo Abe has become the first Japanese prime minister to visit Darwin since the Northern Territory capital was bombed during World War II.

Mr Abe arrived in Darwin on Friday and laid a wreath at the city's cenotaph alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The historic visit marks 76 years after the deadly Darwin bombing and is also the first face-to-face meeting between Mr Abe and Mr Morrison since the leadership change in Canberra in August.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid a wreath at the Darwin Cenotaph War Memorial.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid a wreath at the Darwin Cenotaph War Memorial.
AAP

The bombing of Darwin on February 19, 1942, was the largest attack ever mounted by a foreign power on mainland Australia.

An estimated 242 Japanese aircraft attacked Darwin, resulting in the death of about 240 people.

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Abe visits Darwin
Abe visits Darwin

Mr Abe is also expected to visit the memorial of the 80-crew Japanese submarine I-124, which was sunk off Darwin in January 1942, and inspect his country's single biggest foreign investment, the $54 billion Ichthys gas project, which began shipping LNG in October.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in Darwin on an official two-day visit.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in Darwin on an official two-day visit.
AAP

The Japanese leader and Mr Morrison will discuss trade and security issues before heading to Port Moresby for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Ahead of his arrival, Mr Morrison described the visit as "deeply symbolic".

"During this visit we will also acknowledge those who served in World War II, and recognise the importance of the reconciliation that followed between our countries," Mr Morrison said in a statement.

In 2016, Mr Abe made a visit to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, the site of the 1941 attack by Japan that brought the United States into the war, and former US President Barack Obama's trip in May 2016 to Hiroshima, which was devastated by the 1945 US atomic bombing.

Shinzo Abe talks with US veterans in Pearl Harbor
Shinzo Abe is heading to Darwin two years after his historic visit to Pearl Harbour. (AAP)
AAP

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