U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell stated on his arrival in Tokyo last week that he wanted, on behalf of the U.S. government, to express deep regret for the controversy concerning alleged statements about Okinawa by Kevin Maher, his subordinate at the U.S. State Department. It is apparent, however, that Campbell made the apology to avoid stalling the decades-old scheme to relocate U.S. Marine Corp Air Station Futenma following the uproar over Maher’s gaffe.

Last month it was announced that Maher (who was removed from his post last week) would resign from his State Department post this summer. It was not to be a dismissal as we had expected, but a promotion. His new assignment was to be with the U.S. Commission on National Security as head of Asian affairs. In other words, Maher was recognized as an able diplomat for his contribution to U.S. national interests.

Maher is a career diplomat who worked hard in his capacity to implement U.S. foreign policies faithfully and truthfully. So, apparently Campbell’s apology is not for the essentially more derogatory policies from Washington but simply for the unlucky remarks unworthy of a career diplomat.

Washington’s persistence in demanding that Futenma’s facilities be relocated to Henoko is the most egregious disparagement of all. Does Campbell have a mind to prostrate himself before us and apologize for that?

yoshio shimoji

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