Statement from former U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, interviewed by Norimasa Tahara in Los Angeles
When I served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan for four years starting in 2009, I was deeply impressed by the Emperor, who demonstrated his belief that his relationship with the people of Japan is important at all times. The Emperor also contributed to improving bilateral relations between Japan and the U.S. He did so not only as the Emperor but also as a human being. I can say that he is truly the symbol of Japan and the Japanese people.
I sensed the Emperor’s ultimate desire in his remarks and I was touched by them. The Emperor only wants to serve the people. I think that is his true intention. He believes that it is important as the Emperor to be able to continue being active in order to carry out such duties as meeting and talking to people both in Japan and abroad.
I’m not in a position to comment on his abdication. I think it is an issue that the Japanese public and government should deal with based on the Emperor’s resolve.