NEW YORK – Veteran Japanese journalist Fumio Matsuo, known for his efforts in calling for “true” postwar reconciliation between Japan and the United States, died at a hotel in New York state where he was visiting, his family said Tuesday. He was 85.
According to local authorities, Matsuo, a former Kyodo News correspondent and an expert on U.S. politics, died of natural causes on Monday.
A native of Tokyo, Matsuo joined Kyodo News in 1956 and served as Washington bureau chief in the 1980s. In 2002, at the age of 68, he came out of retirement and returned to journalism, writing articles calling on Japanese and U.S. leaders to pay respective visits to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor in symbolic acts of reconciliation between the former wartime foes.
He received the Japan National Press Club Award in 2017 for helping, through his work, the realization of landmark visits to the historic sites in 2016 by then U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
His interest in the United States stemmed from experiencing the Doolittle Raid, which targeted various cities in Japan, including Tokyo, following the nation’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Books Matsuo published included “The Day President Obama Offers Flowers at Hiroshima” in 2009 and “The Accommodating History of U.S.-China Relationship” in 2017.