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Even `Chrysanthemum Club` members are disappointed by Abe statement

Even `Chrysanthemum Club` members are disappointed by Abe statement

Posted October. 01, 2015 07:24,   


The symbol flower of the Japanese royal family is chrysanthemum, not cherry blossoms. Hence "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword," a famous book authored by U.S. anthropologist Ruth Benedict on the Japanese culture. Pro-Japanese politicians and intellectuals are collectively called the "Chrysanthemum Club," although no such group actually exists. Edwin Reischauer, a longtime Harvard professor and for six years the U.S. ambassador to Japan in the 1960s, is known as the club leader. It can be said that Dennis Blair, the Obama administration`s first director of National Intelligence and the current chairman of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, is also a club member.

The Sasakawa Peace Foundation is a major think tank in Washington that often organizes or sponsors Japan-related seminars and conferences. It is considered the Washington office of the Nippon Foundation in Tokyo, which was once called the Sasakawa Foundation. The Nippon Foundation was established by Ryoichi Sasakawa, who was jailed for three years as a Class A war criminal in World War II and donated his money earned from his rowing business. Although it is a non-profit grant-making organization, it follows the ideas of Kishi Nobusuke, an extreme right-wing politician and the grandfather of current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Blair recently posted on the foundation`s website his message criticizing Abe`s August 14 war anniversary statement, saying it was a "disappointing" statement. He wrote that while the 1995 Murayama statement used the active tense with clear objects, Abe`s statement "too often resorts to the anonymous passive voice with its avoidance of responsibility." Blair also said that Prime Minister Abe did not express any kind of apology, asking "Where is the apology by Prime Minister Abe himself?" Blair expressed his disappointment over the Abe statement, saying it "misses a huge opportunity both to educate Prime Minister Abe’s own supporters and to reassure other countries."

There is nothing special in Blair`s message. He was simply stating what anyone with knowledge about Japan`s history of aggression would have felt after listening to the Abe statement. It was not that only Koreans and Chinese people negatively reacted to the statement out of their sense of victimization. Blair`s message reaffirms that even those who try to understand Japan were disappointed by the Abe statement.