日米協会からのお知らせ

ノーマン・ミネタ氏弔意

ノーマン・ミネタ氏が逝去されました。元サンホゼ市長、連邦下院議員、商務長官、運輸長官を歴任した大物政治家でした。特に9.11直後に米国上空を飛ぶすべての航空機に即時着陸を命じたことで有名です。私は米国に赴任していたとき彼とダニエル・イノウエという二人の日系人の大物と同時代にいられるのは本当に幸運だと思っていました。ミネタ氏は決断力のある賢人でしたが、その傑出した頭脳や力をいつも上品なにこやかさに包んでいました。私の個人的想い出だけ二つ書きます。
10年ほど前LAの飛行場で一緒になりました。夜行でワシントンに帰る便です。ミネタ氏はどういうわけかセキュリティでひっかかりました。彼は照れ笑いしていましたが、文句も言わず係官の指示通り、三度も金属探知機に戻っていきました。彼らしいと思いました。
もう一つは、私が戦時中日系米国人の収容に反対し、政治生命を失ったラルフ・カー・コロラド州知事につき日系人はもっと顕彰すべきと考え相談に行ったときです。彼自身収容を経験していたので相談すべき最良の相手と思ったのです。彼は即座に日系米国人市民連盟にラルフ・カー賞を創ることを決めてくれました。彼らしいと思いました。
巨星堕つという感があります。でもミネタ氏は実に多くを日米両国民に遺してくれました。ご冥福を祈ります。

 

一般社団法人日米協会
会長 藤崎一郎

 

 

Former US Congressman and Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta passed away. What sad news. He was a great stateman and will be missed by so many Americans and Japanese alike. I always felt I was so lucky to be a contemporary and friends with two giants of the Japanese American community. They of course are Congressman Norman Mineta and Senator Daniel Inouye. There never have been such giants before and is unlikely that we will have them in the foreseeable future. Norm was a man of insight, decision and wisdom. But he always covered them with decency and smile. His accomplishments are well known including his instant decision to order the grounding of all the airplanes flying above the States right after the 9.11 attack. Here, I would write only my very personal memory regarding him. About 10 years ago, I came across him at LaGuardia Airport, LA. Both of us were trying to catch the red eye flight to go back to DC. Going through the airport security system, Norm had trouble passing that transparent tube where one has to raise both arms like facing a hold-up. He was asked to try three times. The famous former Secretary of Transportation obeyed the instruction gently without any grumbling. Only a shy smile. I thought “That’s Norm !”  Second time was when I thought Japanese American Community should more remember and honor wartime Colorado Governor Ralph Carr, who was against internment of Japanese Americans only to ruin his own political career. I could think of no one to confer with but Norm who had experienced internment himself. He instantly agreed to establish Ralph Carr Award in the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). He did not show any hesitation and madethe decision right away. I thought, “That’s Norm!”

A giant star has fallen. He has left legacy to all of us in the States and in Japan. May his soul rest peacefully in heaven.

 

Ichiro Fujisaki

President, The America-Japan Society Inc.