Blue eyes, blond hair: that's US problem, says Japanese minister
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Friday March 23, 2007
Taro Aso, Japan's foreign minister, risked upsetting his country's strongest ally by suggesting US diplomats in the Middle East would never solve the region's problems because they have "blue eyes and blond hair".
Mr Aso, a straight-talking nationalist, said the Japanese, on the other hand, were trusted because they had "yellow faces" and had "never been involved in exploitation there, or been involved in fights or fired machine guns".
Japan has healthy relations with Arab countries and Iran and imports much of its oil from the Middle East. It is a big contributor of aid to the Palestinian Authority, but also has friendly ties with Israel.
"Japan is doing what Americans can't do," local media quoted Mr Aso as saying in a speech about Japan-sponsored investment in the Middle East. "Japanese are trusted. It would probably be no good to have blue eyes and blond hair. Luckily, we Japanese have yellow faces."
Mr Aso, seen by some as a possible successor to the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is no stranger to controversy.
In 2001 he said a member of the burakumin, Japan's underclass, could never lead the country. He later angered Japan's indigenous Ainu population by describing the country as unique in being "one nation, one civilisation, one language, one culture and one race". While economics minister, he said he wanted to turn Japan into a country where "rich Jews" would want to live.
In 2003, he sparked protests when he praised imperial Japan's often brutal colonial rule of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945, and last month he described the US post-invasion plans for Iraq as "very immature".
現在の米国の国務長官は”blue eyes and blond hair”ではなくて、黒人女性ですけど。ところで、麻生氏は（或いは広く日本国民は）例えば米国下院の「従軍慰安婦」に関する決議案*1を提案した人が”yellow faces”をした日系米国人だという事実をどう思っているのだろうか。というのも、中国では中国系米国人への関心はかなり高い。それに比べて、日本では（米国人ではなく日本国籍をまだ保持している）日本人大リーガーはともかくとして、日系米国人の存在そのものに対する関心が低いというのも、麻生発言の背景のひとつとしてあると思うのだが、如何だろうか。