Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oh Kevin Maher

Probably about 6 months ago when I returned to Japan, I remember turning on the TV to some news about Okinawa, only to see a somewhat familiar face on the TV. One, Kevin Maher. Again, tonight I come home with some take out, turn on the news and lo-and-behold it is Kevin Maher, this time he is not a passing figure in the background, but front and center.

It seems Mr. Maher, in a little lecture to some students from American University in D.C. slipped up big time and basically called Okinawans masters of extortion directed towards Tokyo. I will not get into the rough and tumble details of Okinawa and US bases because that is a pretty time consuming task. Instead I just want to put forth my lack of surprise.

I was in some little, I don't know what to call it, I think there was a joke I used to make at the small NGO I worked at in D.C. about all the different things you called call a discussion with a guest speaker. Since there were always ones going on throughout D.C. it seemed necessary to drum up some creative synonyms. Anyways, I was at a discussion at Johns Hopkins SAIS in D.C. with a DPJ member as the guest and Mr. Maher was present. I don't think it would be right for me to go into detail about this discussion, as it was off-the-record and the notes I had for it are on my old computer which is not starting...but saved on a disk drive in the states. I will say that Mr. Maher and said DPJ representative got into a discussion about a more equal US-Japan relationship that was not heated, but definitely not what I would term "diplomatic" or particularly productive on Mr. Maher's side. So when the taker of the notes that have appeared on the nightly news said he did not think Mr. Maher's comments were very diplomatic - I was not shocked in the least. I think I laughed.

The first time I saw him on TV six months ago, I remember hitting up the local bar and talking to the owner, saying something along the lines of "Why does a guy who seems so frustrated about the contents of his job, doing his job." Maybe that will not be for much longer.

Here is a link to the story in Japanese: http://www.asahi.com/politics/update/0308/TKY201103080472.html

Update: Looks like Kevin Maher is being replaced - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/world/asia/11japan.html?ref=asia