Former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, “message of condolence”
It was July 8. I heard an unbelievable news, and anyway, I hope you will survive. I wanted to meet you and share the same air in the same space.
With this one thought in mind, I went to the site and was able to experience your warm smile for the last time. 80 days have passed since that fateful day.
The mornings continue to come and the days continue to go by. The cicadas that used to be so noisy have somehow faded away, and the autumn clouds have begun to flutter in the high sky.
The season moves on. Time passes even though there is no one called you. I still find it unforgivable that time passes so mercilessly.
Why did heaven, of all places, make such a tragedy a reality and take life from someone who should not have lost it? I cannot help but feel frustrated. I come to this day with alternating feelings of sadness and anger.
But Prime Minister Abe…I call you Prime Minister Abe…can you see it? Many people have gathered around the Budokan here to offer flowers and to attend the national funeral.
It seems that not a few of them are in their 20s and 30s. Many young people, the leaders of tomorrow, have come to adore you and to see you off.
You want to create a Japan where tomorrow will be better than today. You spoke to the people every day, day after day, with your strong conviction that you wanted to give hope to the young people. And Japan, Japanese people, bloom in the middle of the world. This was your favorite phrase.
He believed that the economy would grow only when the people who would lead the next generation envisioned a bright future for themselves.
As someone who shared the same path with you, I could not be happier that there are now so many young people who will miss you. It is a rewarding feeling.
In 2000, the Japanese government was about to send rice to North Korea. I was only a twice-elected member of the Diet, but I voiced my opposition at a meeting of the LDP General Assembly, saying, “It would be good if the rice could reach the grassroots people, but we should not do anything that would fatten the military unless we had a guarantee of that.
This was published in the newspaper. You saw the article and called me saying, “I want to meet with you. You said, “What Mr. Kan is saying is correct. I would be happy if you would work with me to recover the Japanese abducted by North Korea.
Your words at that time, which were full of conviction and power, became the food for my own political activities in the years that followed.
I was struck by your straight eyes and your determination to follow through on your beliefs, and I had a gut feeling that this was the man who would one day become prime minister. I was convinced that this was the man who would one day become prime minister, the man who must become prime minister. I am proud of the fact that I have never wavered in this conviction.
You once retired from the prime minister’s office due to a chronic illness. You felt guilty about that and hesitated for a long time about running for the LDP presidency for the second time. In the end, the two of us went to a yakitori restaurant in Ginza, and I tried my best to woo you. I felt it was my mission to do so.
Three hours later, you finally shook your head. I will always be proud of this, Yoshihide Kan, as the greatest accomplishment of my lifetime.
We talked without hesitation once a day, without fail, whenever the Prime Minister was in the Prime Minister’s Office. Even now, when I am alone, I can recall those days vividly.
I was of the opinion that it would be better to take our time in entering the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Prime Minister said, “We must not lose our timing. History has already proven which of us was right.
If we take a step backward, we will lose momentum. He must have thought that only by moving forward could he find a way forward. Prime Minister, your judgment has always been correct.
Prime Minister Abe. Japan was able to pass the Specified Secret Protection Law, a series of Peace and Security Laws, the Revised Organized Crime Punishment Law, and other difficult bills all because we had you, an irreplaceable leader in our history.
Without any one of them, the security of our country would not be solid. We are eternally grateful to you for your conviction and determination.
We will overcome the national crisis and create a strong Japan. We will strive for a truly peaceful Japan and make Japan a country that can contribute to the world in every field. Even in the midst of these daily challenges of determination and decision making, you always kept a smile on your face. You were always mindful of those around you and showered them with kindness.
We spent seven years and eight months together at the Prime Minister’s official residence, sharing all kinds of hardships and joys. I was truly happy.
I recall not only myself but all the staff members working cheerfully and lively during those tough days. I will say it again and again. Prime Minister Abe, you were a true leader for our country, Japan.
On your desk in Room 1212 of the 1st Congressional Chamber of the House of Representatives, there was a book that you were about to read. It is “Aritomo Yamagata” by Yoshitake Oka. The last page, which you had read up to this point, was folded at the end. On that page, there was a line drawn with a marker pen.
The marked section contained a poem that Aritomo Yamagata composed in memory of his longtime ally, Hirobumi Ito, who had preceded him in death. I can think of no other poem that expresses my own feelings as well as this one.
How shall I live with the world after this time, when those I have talked with and devoted myself to have not yet passed away?
I feel deep sadness and loneliness. Thank you very much, Prime Minister. Please rest in peace.Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)