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Why is Mike Huckabee flirting with a Japanese WWII revisionist?

Are you just sitting around waiting for the opportunity to hear a lecture and take a booze cruise with a disgraced Japanese general who is notorious for defending Japan’s WWII atrocities? Mike Huckabee apparently is. Huckabee, the former (and likely future) Republican presidential candidate, is using his down time to host a weekend show for ...

575485_091215_huckabee2.jpg
575485_091215_huckabee2.jpg

Are you just sitting around waiting for the opportunity to hear a lecture and take a booze cruise with a disgraced Japanese general who is notorious for defending Japan's WWII atrocities? Mike Huckabee apparently is.

Huckabee, the former (and likely future) Republican presidential candidate, is using his down time to host a weekend show for Fox News. For that program, he is planning to interview Toshio Tamogami, the former Japanese Air Force chief of staff who was fired in October after creating an international incident by writing in an essay that Japan was "not an aggressor nation" in WWII, according to the organizers of a series of events planned for Tamogami's upcoming trip to the United States.

Are you just sitting around waiting for the opportunity to hear a lecture and take a booze cruise with a disgraced Japanese general who is notorious for defending Japan’s WWII atrocities? Mike Huckabee apparently is.

Huckabee, the former (and likely future) Republican presidential candidate, is using his down time to host a weekend show for Fox News. For that program, he is planning to interview Toshio Tamogami, the former Japanese Air Force chief of staff who was fired in October after creating an international incident by writing in an essay that Japan was “not an aggressor nation” in WWII, according to the organizers of a series of events planned for Tamogami’s upcoming trip to the United States.

Tamogami has launched an international lecture tour, which will hit New York in March. There will be a dinner cruise ($150 per ticket) on March 25 and a dinner lecture at the University Club on March 26 ($140 per ticket). Tamogami’s website advertising the New York speech includes a picture of Huckabee and a link to Huckabee’s personal website.

“Come share with us in the dual experience of powerful oration and rich history in The University Club of New York,” Tamogami’s site reads.

So what’s going on here? The Cable reached Yasuhiro Takasaki, representative of the “Toshio Tamogami New York Lecture Committee.”

Takasaki said that Huckabee was planning to come to New York and interview Tamogami for his Fox News show, although the interview had not been 100 percent confirmed. Huckabee would also attend the dinner and lecture, he said.

“It might be a good opportunity to meet with Huckabee,” Takasaki said, advertising the event as a chance to get near the former Arkansas governor.

“I talked to Mike Huckabee last week and he is very interested in meeting with [Tamogami],” Takasaki said proudly.

The Tamogami scandal and his lecture tour has been extensively covered by the blog Armchair Asia, which points out that while Tamogami’s “strident, revisionist views were brushed aside as an aberration in Japan’s armed forces … he remains vocal and a hero to many.”

Is Mike Huckabee one of those? Repeated requests for comment to Huckabee for this story were not answered.

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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