In his book Dead Right, David Frum tells a story about two Viennese Jews reading newspapers in a coffee shop at the end of the nineteenth century. When the man with the respectable daily sees the other holding a scurrilous anti-semitic rag, he asks in astonishment: "What's come over you?" The other responds, "I'll tell you...In your paper, I read about old Jewish men murdered in Romania, about Jewish women raped by Cossacks in Russia, about Captain Dreyfuss unjustly accused in France. In this one, I read that Jews control the banks and stock exchanges, that we hoard sacks of gold in our cellars, that every government on earth trembles at our orders. I prefer good news." While Frum had a different purpose in mind, the joke would undoubtedly seem wonderfully apt to officials of Japan's Ministry of Finance (MOF) in light of the awe with which they have often been viewed in Washington.
Making Sense of Japan: A Reassessment of Revisionism
From the issue
March 1, 1996