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I am pessimistic on this one, as Abe Shinzo is possibly the most stupid premier Japan has seen in modern times. For those who may not know, Abe was personally in charge of the text book reform which suggested some school book revisions to historical facts. And soon after being elected, Abe insulted the few remaining former comfort women in Korea, China and the Philippines by retracting from a previous (half-hearted) apology for the atrocities commited during the war. Abe has tried to appease his conservative core voters, but in actuality no one in Japan understands what his phony rhetoric is all about; he is on a slippery slope downhill.|
Abe has also said that it doesn't matter if the US Congress will make a resolution about the comfort women. He simply doesn't care; for him, the need to save Japan's face is greater than taking responsibility for committed atrocities. The US has been somewhat reluctant to criticize Japan, since Japan has had troops in Iraq. But since those are now withdrawn and as the US Iraq policy is slowly changing, America will have less tolerance for Japan's outrageous behavior.
Japan will remain the foremost US ally in the region. For the US, Japan is the key to controlling China, a kind of check and balance for East Asian stability.
On the other hand, as long as Japan is allowed by Western allies to revise history and get away with its crimes, China will have an excuse to maintain its similar policies (and as a foreigner, that is my main critique of China).
Therefore, this visit will not thaw anything at all. It may confirm good trade relations and so on, but the underlying foundation of distrust will not change. It will remain until LDP loses power to some party committed to strengthen the ties with China and deal with history.
As dog and cat, ever in a fight.