• Yokohama, Kanagawa


Regarding the March 10 Hotline to Nagatacho letter, “Please teach us how to fit in“: I find it odd that the writer, Mike Mullins, would propose putting the onus for providing culture and language training on the Japanese government, since he was among the “visitors” being hosted here at considerable expense to Japan. It is the United States that should consider reducing some of its vast and deadly arsenal for the sake of providing education to its troops, including at least basic language and culture-sensitivity training.

For troops who are rotated globally during their enlistment, it may be too much to ask that they understand the subtleties of every country where they are posted. But given that many such postings are relatively long term, I think there should be some expectation that the soldiers act as positive ambassadors for their own country and culture, and behave accordingly. The focus over the years seems to have been on trying to keep bad behavior out of the papers, rather than on training enlisted men and women in their role as spokespeople for America.

stephen knight

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