Naval War College Review


This essay describes an incident of some thirty years ago that involved relations between the United States and Japan. It stemmed from a chance encounter at sea in international waters, between a U.S. warship and a Japanese commercial vessel. If there are lessons to be learned from this event, it is that small things matter; they are like grains of sand that gum up the machinery of smooth international relations. At the time, I was defense and naval attaché to the American embassy at Tokyo, where I became involved in the situation after the fact. To my knowledge, this is how the story unfolded.