Monday, March 16, 2009


Several weeks ago, there was a hint that the Emperor and Empress of Japan might make an "unofficial" visit to Pearl Harbor. If so, this would have been an historic gesture. Many had hopes that an Imperial moment of reflection at the opening of World War II's Pacific theater would symbolize Japan's acceptance of its war responsibilities and officially end the war of apologies.

After all, the Emperor's father started the war and the Emperor remains Japan's head of state.

Thus far, in September the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited Hiroshima and there was a noticeable bow. And in late December, the Speaker of the Upper House of the Japanese Diet Yohei Kono made a very quiet visit to the Punchbowl Cemetery in Honolulu.

Unfortunately, the Imperial Household announced on March 13th that this visit would not happen. In a curt statement, a palace official said "The purpose of the visits is not for the repose of people's souls."

Restless, then, these souls remain.

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