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Tag Archives: Foreign Policy in Focus

“Smearing Japan” (latest on former diplomat Kevin Maher’s insults towards Okinawans)

Kevin Maher, who described Okinawans as "extortionist" and "lazy" has resurfaced. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, the former head of the U.S. State Department's Japan desk said his comments were invented by American University students who attended a now notorious lecture last December by Maher in preparation for their study-trip to Okinawa. The insults were made public in March, causing a furor throughout Okinawa. Subsequently, Maher stepped down from his post. After the 3/11/11 disasters, Maher joined U.S. "Operation Tomodachi." He will be meeting 30 Japanese politicians from Japan when they visit Washington D.C. from May 1 to May 5. The contingent includes Okinawan MP Mikio Shimoji, whose family construction business benefits from military contracts. In this article for Foreign Policy in Focus, American University professor David Vine rebuts Maher's denial with recorded notes from the lecture, including direct quotes in which Maher describes Japanese society as an "extortionist culture," adding that "Okinawans. . .are masters at this."

Bring War Dollars Home by Closing Down Bases

Christine Ahn and Sukjong Hong discuss Washington's exorbitant, wasteful spending on politically, economically, and environmentally unsustainable overseas U.S. military bases. Their focus in this piece is Cheju Island, but the pattern of environmental destruction, disrespect of democratic process, and widespread citizen protest against U.S. bases also applies to Okinawa, the entire Asia-Pacific, and the rest of the world.

Who Killed Hatoyama’s Career?

John Feffer from the Institute for Policy Studies discusses the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama.

Can Japan Say No to Washington?

John Feffer from the Institute for Policy Studies discusses the Okinawa base issue and U.S. foreign policy.