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Inokashira park to open, Yangtze mine sweeping detailed, Kennedy eulogized, Japan-U.S. visa pact begins

by Edan Corkill

100 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Dec. 21, 1913

Tokyo’s Inokashira gets new park

The proposal of providing a large public park at Inokashira for the benefit of the people of Tokyo has been approved by the Municipal Council. The Emperor has graciously offered the use of an extensive lot in that locality for that purpose.

The park will be constructed with the pond at Inokashira as its center, extending to all directions. It will be only a few minutes’ walk from Kichijoji Station on the Central Railway Line about five miles west of Shinjuku. The pond is large enough to afford the pleasure of rowing boats. Almost the entire lot is under the shade of luxuriant trees. The Imperial gift to the park in extensive wooded land will make it one of the greatest attractions for pleasure-seeking persons of the capital.


75 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Dec. 21, 1938

Captain details mine sweeping on Yangtze

Captain Tokuji Mori, former Commander of the Japanese fleet on the Yangtze River, returned to Tokyo Monday to assume his office as the Chief of Staff in the Auxiliary Naval Station at Ominato.

Spending nearly six months in sweeping numerous submarine mines, his fleet reduced the enemy’s strategic positions along the river one after another and made a triumphant entry into Hankow (Hankou) on October 26.

Captain Mori had experience in sweeping mines in the Dardanelles in the Mediterranean as an officer of the Japanese destroyer Kashiwa during the World War.

Captain Mori told the press:

“I had made notes on the number of mines swept away until we approached Kiukiang (Jiujiang), but there were so many there that I became tired of this task. It was indeed a hard task to find the mines.

“Encouraged by the nation’s support behind the guns, we were all in high spirits during the fight, however. Surrounded by the enemy’s mines and fortress cannons, we could not advance even a single step for five days in front of Kiukiang.

“An American gunboat and a British gunboat were quietly watching our struggling. And we shed tears of joy when we captured this most important strategic position of the enemy.”


50 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 1963

Nation’s leaders eulogize Kennedy

The nation’s leaders assembled at Hibiya Public Hall in Tokyo Tuesday to express their deep mourning and sense of loss at the death of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

The memorial meeting, the first such public meeting held in Japan since Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, was attended by more than 2,000 people of all ages and walks of life.

The meeting, held under the joint sponsorship of a national committee organized for the memorial gathering and the America-Japan Society, began at 1:30 p.m. with the playing of national anthems of the two countries.

After a minute of silent prayer, the gathering heard the nation’s political, business and religious leaders deliver messages of condolence. They all identified themselves with the ideals Kennedy stood for and pledged their efforts to participate in the continuation of his unfinished work.

In both English and Japanese, American Ambassador to Japan Edwin O. Reischauer expressed thanks for the messages of condolence from the Japanese people and gave assurances that the work of the late president has been taken up by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In his message, Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda said the Japanese people must realize that they have both the duty and the responsibility to keep working for peace and social justice in honor of the soul of the late U.S. president.

Socialist Chairman Jotaro Kawakami said that although his party was opposed to U. S. Government policy toward Japan, Kennedy’s death was to be regretted because he died at the hands of an enemy of democracy “just as our late Secretary General Inejiro Asanuma did.”

Asanuma was assassinated by an ultra rightist three years ago while delivering a campaign speech on the same stage of the hall.

The NHK Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Wilhelm Loibner, played the second movement from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 and Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” the latter a favorite of the President.


25 YEARS AGO
Friday, Dec. 16, 1988

Japan-U.S. visa pact goes into effect

A Japanese-U.S. agreement exempting tourists and business people from visa requirements went into effect Thursday.

U.S. Consulate, Japanese immigration and airline officials attended a ceremony at the Osaka International Airport to send off the first group of Japanese passengers to the United States. “This agreement will promote tourism between the two countries. And with greater exchanges will come greater mutual understanding,” said U.S. Consul General John R. Malott.

Of the 300 passengers who left for the U.S. Thursday, 30 chose to go without visas. Japanese and American travelers, however, must fill out a visa waiver form, which is available from airlines, travel agents, embassies and consulates.

The waiver is a considerably simplified version of the visa process, said Dennis Ortblad, who is in charge of the consulate’s visa section. Under the agreement, Japanese citizens carrying valid passports can enter the U.S. for holidays or business travel without visas. The agreement allows travelers to remain in the country for up to 90 days. No extensions of changes of status are permitted.

In this feature, which appears on the first Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 117-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity. This edition was compiled with the assistance of Jordan Sievers. Readers may be interested to know that The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available on Blu-ray Disc. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.