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Maestro Ozawa hopes Japan will remain a country of peace

Kyodo

Renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa expressed hope over the weekend that Japan will remain a country that does not engage in war, as it has been since the end of World War II 70 years ago.

The 79-year-old conductor, in an exclusive interview in Rolle, Switzerland, on Saturday, said Japan should live up to its status as a peaceful country by continuing to “demonstrate itself to the world as a good example of a country that does not wage war.”

“Japan made an awful mistake in the last war and underwent the terrible experience of war. It is quite dangerous” to relegate the war to ancient history, he said, adding that older people should tell the younger generations about their war memories.

The conductor also said many politicians are actually ignorant about World War II.

“Politicians say peace is important. But some may not really feel this,” he said.

Ozawa, who was born in 1935 in former Manchukuo, Imperial Japan’s puppet state in northeastern China, declined to comment on today’s strained ties between Japan and China.

“I don’t know about politics. But I still have many friends there,” he said.

Ozawa underwent surgery for esophageal cancer in 2010 and said his health “seems to be improving gradually.”

He plans to stay in Switzerland and France through early July. He intends to teach at the international academy in Switzerland he opened in 2005 and hold concerts in Geneva and Paris featuring the academy’s students.