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Beleaguered U.S. diplomat calls it quits and resigns

Date Posted: 2011-04-14

Former Consul General at the American Consulate Naha has tossed in the towel and resigned after remarks made several months ago to a gathering of college students in Washington D.C. unleashed a torrent of anger by Japanese and Okinawans that lead to his being relieved as Chief of the Office of Japanese Affairs at the State Department.

Kevin Maher submitted his resignation to the State Department this week. He was kept on at the State Department after being fired March 12th, assigned to be a coordinator for the American task force established to aid Japan in the aftermath of the March 11th Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in northern Japan. In an address at American University last December, Maher allegedly told students in an off-the-record meeting that Okinawans were “lazy” and “masters of manipulation and extortion” in their dealings with Tokyo over Japan’s hosting U.S. military bases on Okinawa.

His remarks angered Japanese, and brought a quick apology from the U.S. government. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says “I would like to accept the fact as it is, that he is no longer in that position.” Edano noted Maher’s remarks did not, in his belief, reflect the U.S. government position, and said the incident has made it more difficult for Okinawans to work with the government on U.S.-Japan issues. “We have urged the U.S. to make efforts to show its position to the Japanese people, especially the Okinawans.”

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