politics

Kennedy weighs in on topic of wartime history

39 Comments

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy weighed in on the touchy topic of wartime history in an interview published by the Asahi newspaper on Thursday.

Kennedy, who arrived in Japan last year to a fanfare of attention, said that the people of the world should cheer on leaders who try to overcome history to build a peaceful future, the newspaper said.

She also said Japan had made an extremely constructive contribution to the region and world and by building trust with its neighbors, Japan could carry out that role with more confidence, the newspaper said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

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39 Comments
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Kind of a featherweight comment. Who do you think she's talking about?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

She was walking on eggshells, you could tell.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Same kind of fluff that Obama relies on when confronted with difficult questions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kennedy's only qualification is her celebrity status as a Kennedy. Might as well be Oprah weighing in on xyz.

-8 ( +10 / -16 )

Being careful not to put her foot in her mouth.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

She is awesome and should be the queen of Japan. They need a new leader.

-10 ( +8 / -17 )

That was an intelligent comment? I can see in the future, Kennedy at some time and point will put her foot in her mouth, I just have that annoying feeling. Am I surprised by her comments, not really. She is totally unqualified to do this job.

-14 ( +6 / -17 )

how exactly did she "weigh into the touchy subject" when all she did was say that japan contributed to this region of the world. hardly news at all.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

She works for the interest of the US. It is a nice textbook answer in response to the Japanese correspondent. She can make her move when it is right moment for the interest of her country.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Excellent! I knew she could do it if she really tried: smile and be nice.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

She was saying, in veiled speech, that the US would like to work with a leader who doesn`t go all out to annoy his neighbours. No names mentioned, but we can guess

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Kennedy's only qualification is her celebrity status as a Kennedy.

Sadly, her only qualification is less noble. It was her contribution to Obama's election campaign.

2 ( +10 / -7 )

Oh, she's all right. Most of my Japanese friends and students were very puzzled by her appointment, but quickly came round when I reminded them that the Kennedys are pretty much the the royalty of America. I've got a feeling that she'll do well here.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Coming out of the blue she really have lots to say about a topic she doesn't comprehend. That it is coming from pure ignorance is not unexpected.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sadly it's how little the US government and businesses think of Japan anymore. From the Taiji "whalers" on up it seems the country is dutifully ready to take her to school.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan could carry out that role with more confidence....

So Japan has 'NO CONFIDENCE' at all to walk out of the wartime memories...is that what you mean Miss Kennedy? Because Japan has pissed off those obbressors that vowed to take vengeances! She is paranoid and thats why she cant!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

She said what she was told to say, no more, no less.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This article refers to less than 5% of the content of the original Asahi interview.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Trust me: What Ms Kennedy said was vetted and well-rehearsted. Regardless of what she said, the big news is that she is saying anything at all about the past (which everyone knows is highlighted by Japan crimes against humanity). You have to read between the diplomatic lines. One thing you have to deduce is that the US is very worried about Abe putting his foot in it with every step he takes.

An number of political commentators have raised concerns about war breaking out between Japan and China. That is no small concern.

Yes, the US is less than pleased with China's current saber-rattling. But there is equal concern that Abe is not only alienating China but also South Korea.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

She's an Ambassador.... she did her job. She made a non-controversial remark regarding a touchy subject. She passed the quiz. Good Job Caroline. But remember, there are tests too.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

** Abe is not only alienating China but also South Korea

I think the other way around.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

What do you want her to say ? Japan has tried to overcome the military past with a constructive and peaceful approach by assisting Asian neighbors with development since WW2 . It is about time this generation learns to let go and move on rather than being stuck in very old resentments.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"This article refers to less than 5% of the content of the original Asahi interview."

You're probably correct. For better or worse JT commenters tend to decipher whatever words they have to work with in articles without much details.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Finally, someone with class and honesty.

Good for Kennedy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Juanito3001

"... Japan has tried to whitewash, minimize, muddle, and cover-up the military past with a constructive and peaceful approach by assisting Asian neighbors with grudging and comparatively paltry developmental assistance since WW2".

There, fixed it for you.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Unfortunately, she cannot escape from people's high expectation. I think she is doing good. To me, she cares her comment. Deliberately she chose her word. Not sure her real opinions. Let's see how it goes

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, that was a rather noncommittal statement but at least she managed to praise Japan's positive role in the region. I'm sure China will have something to say about it though. Does this mean the "pivot" is getting serious?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Quote from OP: " .... and by building trust with its neighbors, Japan could carry out that role with more confidence, the newspaper said. "

I don't understand why folks are overlooking this part of her reply.

It is the very core of the issue that Japan faces with the Western Pacific altogether. There is a kind of "logic" or intuitive intelligence process that should be recognized by Japan's political leaders that whatever the sentiments may be that are held by the ever older and aging seniors and their immediate children about what happened in WW2 and its consequences, there should be a New Japan. It should have launched after WW2 and it should have gained momentum during the Korean War and the economic recovery and boom through the 1980s.

This New Japan should have a vision about the future, one that is not hamstrung by whether how its leaders led the country in WW2 is unfairly criminalized or fairly condemned, etc. It should be about a country that has foresworn acts of aggression and a country that is in the front ranks of those nations who are willing to commit to encouraging and enforcing peace.

Instead, we have groups dragging out the vestiges of the old ways, drumming up old spirits of Nationalism and resentments and justifying it because of the thuggish behavior of Beijing's territorial ambitions.

Yasukuni Jinja should be off limits to any holder of public office. If the Imperial Household can avoid going there, I don't understand why politicians feel that they have to. Part of the old ways is to respect the Emperor. Yet in this regard, they are disrespecting him.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

She should mind her own business!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

She seems to increase her fans in Japan every time she opens her Irish (...) mouth in Japan.. She probably read all sort of Japanese History archives, just like she became an expert in Japanese wakas.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Must say that I think she made a rather cleaver political comment on the issue. A demand for change by Abe would just be yet another comment in the same line as several others has stated lately. Would most likely lead to no response or a a rather lame critical response. By going the other way, confirming some change and the positive developmental aspects of Abes statements she may succeed in open for dialogue about the issue. This is basic psychology in the diplomatic school. So maybe its not just the name that gave her the position, she's got some political skills.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Lots of rants about how she's "not qualified", yet not a single one of those ranters provides any source proving she isn't qualified to serve as a U.S. ambassador to Japan. In fact per U.S. rules regarding ambassadorial appointments, she's just as qualified as any previous Ambassador has been. I guess that's why the ranters can't provide any valid proof she's not qualified. All they provide is opinion and opinions are like sphincters - everyone has one and most of them stink.

@Fukuppy,

She should mind her own business!

If you had bothered to read the article and COMPREHENDED what the article was telling you, you would have realized she WAS minding her own business. She was responding to questions posed to her in an interview by Asahi Shinbun. You would be better off telling Asahi Shinbun to stop asking questions you don't want to hear the answers to.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

When she takes a nap? She even welcomed Japanese pitchers who contributed to Boston RS won WS last season.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Fadamor Jan. 24, 2014 - 04:50AM JSTIn fact per U.S. rules regarding ambassadorial appointments, she's just as qualified as any previous Ambassador has been.

Your right. Former Ambassador John Roos (Kennedy’s predecessor) started the Tomodachi initiative and proved to be a great friend of Japan. However, Roos was given too much credit. I would have given him a failing grades for effectiveness prior to the 3/11/11 Japan disaster. Roos has it taken a disaster to change his performance? Roos has been through the past five years largely invisible and irrelevant, while the U.S.-Japan relationship has been stagnating and directionless at best. Hardly a model for Kennedy. Ambassador Kennedy can contribute to a more balanced exchange rather than falling into the familiar patterns of militaristic thinking, posturing, planning and spending as the world struggles to advance while protecting the “strategic” interests of the weak as well as the strong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another veiled criticism on Abe. As an ambassador, especially as a new one in such a position, it is naturally uncomfortable for Ms Kennedy to criticism the host government. But she is duty bound to represent Washington's policies. The fact is that Washington is not happy with Abe. Abe knows that, so he is bending backwards to suck up to Mr Putin of Russia, but that only makes the Americans even more unhappy. Some level of mistrust might develop. The Americans would be looking for the next PM.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Hopefully Abe will be invited to the White House soon to get a spanking for being a bad boy

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

She knows nuts and talks rot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like how and what she said about Japan and future. At least she is not a Japan hater who blame current Japanese people as war mongers. She is a realist.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting. A lot can be read into these comments, but there's very little to gainsay or criticize, and they have an uplifting spin as well as a vague admonition. Perhaps an indicator that her behind-the-scenes people and handlers aren't idiots - which would be refreshing, no? How many face forward politicos can we say that about?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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