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Number 1 Shimbun

In Memoriam – Stefano Carrer

(See June edition for obituary. These are later tributes from friends)

 

Stefano Carrer was the rare foreign correspondent in Japan who covered the country, but also took Japan deep into his heart. He did not simply cover Japan for his readers and audience, but presented the country with a love for the place and people, and Japan became his second home. His loss is great for his family and friends, and for those over the years with whom he shared his words and insights about the country. We would like to share some memories.

He traveled throughout Japan, often in the company of fellow journalists from other countries. Starting as a pen reporter in his early days in Japan, Stefano gradually moved to video for Il Sole 24 Ore. This was a transition that not everyone could do, but he managed it in a short period of time. Newspaper reporters now are asked by editorial bureaus to handle video, and many still feel uneasy handling video cameras. However, Stefano was quick to learn, and simply flooded his editorial office with video reports from Japan on issues, ranging from cos-play to Yasukuni visits. During his decade-long tenure in Japan, Stefano also cov- ered every important story in the country. He later returned to the country to cover significant events after he was reassigned to his editorial office in Milan. I met him for the last time in Osaka for a G-20 summit. He was also the only foreign correspondent who had accompanied the now Emeritus Heisei Emperor on his last official visit to Vietnam and Thailand.

At the FCCJ, his warm presence was reassuring to friends and acquaintances. He talked about matters from his personal experience that were rich and colorful. This is what made him an eternal traveler willing to take any hardship for the sake of news coverage. I remember how eager he was to visit the border areas of Bangladesh and Myanmar to cover the Rohingya ref- ugee crisis in 2017, although he couldn’t go due to bureaucratic restrictions on both sides of the border.

Stefano was a true representative of media in the changing news world — always true to his convictions. His small video camera was with him wherever he went. I fondly remember that on some press tours he humbly requested me to hold the camera and record while he would continue narrating.

Stefano was not only a fellow journalist in Tokyo, but a pleasant companion with whom I’ve travelled around Japan. I remember during a press tour to Hokkaido that I joined him in a rafting competition. Neither of us were master rafters, and Stefano told me a story about always ending up on the losing side when someone joins an Italian. In death you don’t disap- pear, Stefano! Your dedication, professional integrity and warm smiling presence will never be forgotten.

Monzurul Huq

 

I ran into Stefano on a Milan street just after he moved back from Tokyo. Life in Milan wasn’t as exciting for Stefano, although he was busy and occasionally got away for short business trips. In Italy, he looked for every chance to stay in touch with Japan, such as Japan festivals, the Japan-Italy Business Group convention, the Far East Film Festival, and the Uniqlo Milan opening. If an event had anything to do with Japan, Stefano was there. He told me that he couldn’t decide whether to join a gym or buy a car because he tried to postpone any decision that could tie him to the city. He was always ready to leave for Japan.

He took advantage of his Milanese salary-man status and looked after his parents, his niece Cristina, and often spent weekends at a second house in the countryside of Lombardy. He loved to go for walks in the mountains, resting at a local hot spring, and drinking his favorite Nebbiolo red wine. He was pas- sionate about opera and we went to the Scala theatre in Milan. He invited me to the ballet as well and I gave him a cherry tree that had become too tall for my terrace in return. He took it to his parents’ house and his father planted it in their garden. He told me to visit to see how tall it had become.

Italian ambassador Giorgio Starace said: “I met him here in Japan, and he impressed me with his high professionalism and humility... He was a great man, and it’s a great loss for all of us.” Indeed, Stefano was a generous, unpretentious intellectual whose stories inspired us, and his memory we shall keep always.

Nanako Yamamori

Published in: July 2020

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