United States ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has expressed her views about her new assignment in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, reiterating the U.S.’ stand on certain issues and urging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to work hard at fixing relations with other countries. She expressed concern at the tensions raised by recent actions, particularly Abe’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.
Kennedy, the only living child of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, was not shy in criticizing Japan, saying the U.S. was “disappointed by the prime minister’s decision.” The visit to the Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead, which includes convicted Class A war criminals, prompted condemnation from several countries, particularly China and South Korea. “The U.S. hopes Japan and others in the region will work constructively together to support regional stability and create the conditions for future economic growth,” she shared in the interview.
She was also asked by the paper about her tweet over the weekend, condemning the dolphin hunt in Taiji as “inhumane”, which earned a bit of controversy as well, with eco-activists praising her and the Japanese government turning defensive over the “fishing tradition.” She said she thought it was “important” to let people know that the U.S. is committed to protecting marine mammals.
Regarding the issue of the Abe administration’s move to reinterpret the Pacifist constitution, she believes that this is “an issue for the Japanese people and their elected representatives to decide, after genuine and informed debate.” But as for the U.S., they believe Japan will become a better alliance partner if they are able to muster a more solid Self Defense Force to come to their aid in the event of an attack against American forces.
[ via Wall Street Journal ]