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Tocho officials unveiling the monument commemorating the achievements of the foreigners who came to Japan in the 19th and 20th century.
The dedication ceremony commemorating the contribution of foreigners to the modernization of Japan was lightly attended by about 20 relatives and friends of the deceased.
Cherry blossom petals showered the event; the wind blew them into pink petal drifts. Also in attendance were about 20 functionaries from Tocho's Parks and Cemeteries Construction section, and again about the same number of press, including representatives from some of the major TV stations. Notably absent was Tokyo Governor Ishihara who commissioned the stone. It seems odd that he would recognize the contribution of foreigners then not show up. Is this in character with his well-documented xenophobic, anti-foreigner stance? On the other hand, it may not be so odd -- it is Ishihara using one stone (so to speak) to kill two birds : by not showing up, he his distancing himself from the sentiment displayed on the stone, satisfied that future generations' view of him will be enhanced AND the memorial can be used quietly to subsume the graves of "unimportant people" which is the intent of erecting the stone to begin with....
The ceremony ended with a distribution of souvenirs.Posted by Jonathan at April 22, 2007 04:40 PM