From The Editor

Back to Contents of Issue: May 2002

by Bruce Rutledge

A MEMORY FROM MY last trip to Okinawa: I'm standing on the hotel balcony with my daughter, looking out at crystal blue water and coral reef, when a massive US military helicopter comes roaring into view. I could almost hear Flight of the Valkyries as it passed by. It seems many visitors have similar memories of Japan's southernmost islands. Art director Andrew Pothecary told me that while he was visiting a castle in Naha recently during the trip to shoot this month's feature, a man came out and asked him to help with an English translation, the gist of which was "we'll be closed to remove an unexploded bomb." That's Okinawa: part island paradise, part war zone.

Reporter Takehiko Kambayashi says that when he was putting together his story (which begins on page 18), many people scoffed at the idea of Okinawa becoming an IT haven. But we think the idea has some legs. Why? The Japanese are more willing to tinker with Okinawa, seeing it as somehow less 'Japanese' than the rest of the country. What if the government loosened immigration and trade restrictions on Okinawa and really tried to create a vibrant, international free trade zone there? We think it could work. Okinawa could become a trade hub for Northeast Asia. And the government has at least taken a couple of baby steps in that direction.

Finally, we bid farewell to art director Andrew Pothecary, the one person most responsible for the look and feel of J@pan Inc since its inception in November 1999. We will miss him dearly -- each month he worked miracles on an art budget that is too embarrassing to mention. But Andrew has decided it is time to return to the UK to pursue opportunities there. We wish him luck and recommend him highly to any magazine publishers reading this. Good luck Andrew. We'll miss you.

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