I’ve been a journalist mainly in Asia for decades ever since going to Indonesia in late 1965 in a period of assassinations and civil strife, writing magazine and newspaper articles. From Indonesia I gravitated to Vietnam, where I covered the war for several years as a correspondent based in Hong Kong for the Washington Star and based in Tokyo for the Chicago Tribune. I also wrote articles during these years for The New York Times Magazine and others. After writing a couple of books about the war, I spent a year as Edward R. Murrow fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, then free-lanced from Tokyo and Korea until joining USA Today as an editor and correspondent. Leaving USA Today after covering the Gulf war from Baghdad, I wrote books focusing on Korean economy, commerce and industry, wrote a book on the Philippines, then wrote for a number of years for the International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor and others. I have written two more books while based in Korea, one on the late Korean president, Kim Dae-jung, the other on bases in Okinawa and Jeju, and continue to file for print and broadcast from Seoul, Washington and elsewhere. Prizes include an Overseas Press Club award for Asia reporting in 1971, a George Polk award for foreign reporting in 1975 and three OPC citations
The U.S. military presence in Japan and South Korea raises critical questions about its purpose, its relevance to current needs and its political and diplomatic significance beyond the security that U.S. forces are obligated to provide. These questions, most obvious in the southernmost Japanese island prefecture of Okinawa, are reflected in diplomatic negotiations and in debates in the media, in academic settings and other forums. This project would sort out popular attitudes as well as official responses and concerns on Okinawa, at and around other U.S. bases including Yokota and Yokosuka and in Tokyo, including comments and analysis from officials, experts and interested citizens. The study would contrast attitudes and needs in Japan with those in South Korea, where controversy has arisen surrounding a new naval base under construction on the southernmost island province of Jeju. A special point of comparison with Japan would be that of security in South Korea as the U.S. transfers command in wartime to the Republic of Korea and prepares to move its headquarters in Seoul to Pyeongtaek. The study would show the similarities as well as the differences between the U.S. presence in Japan and Korea and analyze views regarding the capacity to counter external threats, real or abstract and theoretical, from North Korea and China.