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The death of Ezra Vogel this week after a long and rich career is a great loss for Japan. We will miss the knowledge and penetrating insights gained over six decades of study and deep interaction with the countries he observed. Vogel’s greatest contribution was his commitment to promoting understanding between the United States and its East Asian partners, and no country seemed to weigh more heavily in those endeavors than Japan. Vogel’s passing leaves a great void and his death — like his life — should occasion reflection and action in Japan to honor and continue his efforts.

As his son Steven explained in an article published in these pages earlier this week, Vogel, one of the leading U.S. experts on East Asia, nurtured and mentored generations of scholars during his tenure at Harvard. He not only passed on wisdom but he worked continuously to connect on personal and professional levels. The deeply felt remembrances that followed news of his death are proof that Vogel succeeded.

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