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A U.S. official in charge of Japanese affairs at the State Department is said to have likened the Japanese cultural principle of maintaining social harmony to “extortion” and described Okinawans as “lazy” during a speech in Washington late last year.

According to a written account compiled by students who attended the lecture at the State Department, Kevin Maher, head of the Japanese affairs office and a former consul general in Okinawa Prefecture, described Okinawan people as “masters of manipulation and extortion” when dealing with the central government.

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