Being in Okinawa I think its a little strange that if an American soldier has a car crash, gets into a fight or does anything at all that would appear on the police blotter in South Korea or Okinawa everyone knows instantly and it fans the flames of public resentment in hours, sometimes minutes. This doesn’t seem to really affect the general populace in Okinawa but it certainly does in Korea. However, it is possible for a passenger liner to burn to the ground, nearly killing the people on board (luckily nobody got hurt this time, though, Boeing’s emergency exit system obviously works very well), and nobody will learn about this until they get home that night and sees it on TV or online on the international or national news media, but not the local news at the time it occurs.

There is a duality here that should be pointed out. When the Koreans or Okinawans freak out about anything involving Americans, it generally does not make the international news at all, since the story is not really about the infraction committed, rather about the social fallout locally. This doesn’t make interesting international (or in Japan’s case, even national) news. So these things go overlooked on the international scene, but the local news obsesses about it. The international news focuses on huge events such as the fire in Naha today, but it is quickly forgotten in the local news if anything untoward of a much lesser magnitude occurs involving Americans.

In some ways this is not a surprise and I’m not judging it to be good or bad, I simply wanted to point out the weirdness of the situation.

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