HONOLULU -- President Bush marked the 50th anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor Saturday by accepting a belated Japanese statement of remorse and warned Americans against recriminations toward Toyko.
Bush, who joined the Navy as a pilot six months after the attack, said he had no rancor and said the United States must move ahead to strengthen economic and political relations with Japan.
Bush thanked Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa for his statement Friday expressing Japan's 'deep sense of responsibility' for the surprise bombing.
The comment marked the first time Japan has come close to formally apologizing for the sudden attack that killed 2,403 Americans and pushed the United States into World War II.
'Today, all Americans should acknowledge Japanese prime minister Miyazawa's national statement of deep remorse concerning the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,' Bush said. 'It was a thoughtful, it was a difficult expression much appreciated by the people of the United States of America.'
Bush made the comment to several thousand World War II veterans and their families at the Kilo 8 pier in Honololu, not far from Pearl Harbor.
Miyazawa spoke in Toyko Friday as opposition party members accused his Liberal Democratic Party of scrapping a parliamentary resolution of apology.
'The Japanese people feel a deep sense of responsibility for unbearable damage and grief Japan inflicted on the peoples of the United States and Oceanian and Asian countries,' Miyazawa said.
'I hope the two nations build up their relations with a forward- looking posture over the next 50 years,' he said.
Bush said although he and other U.S. servicemen during World War II had 'intense hatred' for the enemy, he said he now had 'no rancor in my heart toward Germany or Japan -- none at all. I hope you have none in yours. This is no time for recrimination.'
'World War II is over. It's history. We won,' the president said. 'We reached out, both in Europe and Asia, and made our enemies our friends. We healed their wounds and in the process lifted ourselves up.'
The president said as a lesson of the war, the United States should never embrace an isolationist policy.
He also spoke of the need to improve the current $45 billion trade imbalance with Japan and said he intends to address the matter on his trip trade mission next month to Asia and Australia.
'We stand here today on the site of a tragey born by isolationism. And it is here we must learn and this time avoid the dangers of today's isolationism and its economic accomplice, protectionism.'
'To the leaders of Japan in part I say, this solmen occasion should reinforce our determination to join together in a future energized by free market and free people. I will continue to speak out against the voices of isolationism and protectionism both home and abroad.'
Bush again said he regretted the United States confined several thousand Japanese Americans to prison camps after the warn began.
In an earlier interview, Bush said he would not, on behalf of the United States, apologize for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, saying both assaults helped to end the war and saved lives.