Magazine article Editor & Publisher

An American in Tokyo

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

An American in Tokyo

Article excerpt

Former NSNC president spends six months studying Japan's military and viewing the Iraq war from outside the U.S.

When columnist Pete Rowe signed on for six months in Japan to study that country's military, he didn't realize he would also end up observing the Iraq war from a vantage point few Americans experienced.

The San Diego (Calif.) Union-Tribune staffer, who returned from Tokyo last month, noted that Japan's prime minister supported President Bush's tough approach to Iraq while much of the population opposed it.

"I had a lot of sympathy for the Japanese people's desire that more time be invested in diplomacy," said Rowe. "But your gut reaction is to defend your country." So when Japanese criticism got really strong -- as when Bush was labeled "worse than Hitler" -- Rowe was not pleased.

The war was relevant to Rowe's research about changes in Japan's defense force. For instance, that nation has had little global military presence since World War II, but it agreed to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq.

Rowe filled 14 notebooks with research gleaned from library sources and more than 100 interviews -- including talks with members of the Japanese military. One use for this material was an article slated to be published Aug. …

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