A tiny newspaper story about an appointment has created a stir in Kasumigaseki. Nikkei reported in its Jan. 9 morning edition that Kaoru Magosaki was named director of the Second North America Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
MOFA’s website says that the Second North America Division is in charge of “economic diplomacy with America and Canada.” Kaoru Magosaki, the new division chief, joined MOFA in 1995 after graduating from the University of Tokyo. He has built his career mainly in the Economic Affairs Bureau. He was counselor at the Japanese Embassy in Egypt before the current position.
Based on his career history, it would seem that his was an “appropriate” appointment. So what is so controversial about this?
A MOFA source points out: “You perhaps noticed his unusual surname. His father is Ukeru Magosaki, a former MOFA official and a prominent commentator. Therefore, people were exclaiming, ‘The North America Division, of all positions!’”
The senior Magosaki used to be an elite MOFA official, having served as director general of the Intelligence and Analysis Bureau, ambassador to Iran, and in other important positions. However, he is currently well-known as a “commentator who speaks up against the U.S.”
His books dealing with pressure from the U.S., including the bestseller “Sengoshi no Shotai” [The Truth about Postwar History] which sold more than 200,000 copies, “Amerika ni Tsubusareta Seijikatachi” [Politicians Suppressed by the U.S.], and “Nichibei Kaisen no Shotai” [The Truth about the Japan-U.S. War], are very popular.
He also voices harsh criticism of the Japanese government’s foreign policy. His tweet on Jan. 2 lashed out at the Abe administration, claiming that it is “undoubtedly deviating from pacifism, the symbol of postwar Japan. It has now started building a nation that can go to war both legally and in terms of equipment.”
The above MOFA source says: “While Kaoru is definitely not someone who will voice radical opinions, Ukeru is unlikely to keep quiet just because his son is the North America Division chief. While father and son are two different people, MOFA really hopes that he will not do anything conspicuous while Kaoru is in this position.”
When we asked Ukeru for his opinion, he was uncharacteristically discreet, merely saying: “No comment on my son.” It will probably take some time for “the truth about the Magosaki family” to be revealed.