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Little mention of Japan in coverage of Sony hack

- December 18, 2014

I remember that, in the 1980s and as late as the mid-1990s, Japan was considered our main economic rival, they were taking over, buying up the United States, etc. etc.
I hadn’t thought about this much in the past few years, but the recent coverage of the Sony hack made me realize how much has changed. For example, in this amusing story by Jason Koebler, there’s lots of discussion about the silliness of referring to a computer hack as “terrorism” but not a word about the idea that Koreans historically don’t like Japan very much. Koebler concludes:

We didn’t go to war with North Korea when they murdered American soldiers ​in the 1970s with axes. We didn’t go to war with ​North Korea when they fired missiles over our allies. We didn’t go to war with ​North Korea when one of their ships torpedoed an alliance partner and killed some of their sailors. You’re going to tell me we’re now going to go to war because a Sony exec described Angelina Jolie as a diva? It’s not happening.

But, from the perspective of the 1980s and 1990s, “we” wouldn’t go to war with Sony in any case!
The Japan connection does come up in this New York Times article, but only briefly, and it’s mostly about the United States. Again, from the perspective of 25 years ago, I suspect this would’ve been viewed much more as a Korea-Japan dispute. I understand that Sony Pictures is located in the United States, but still I think the focus is much different, now that Japan isn’t viewed as a rival.
And, from this tweet by Newt Gingrich:

With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar.

For Gingrich, too, it’s not about Japan, or even Japanese-American relations, it’s just about America.
And, from this article in The Washington Post, no mention of Japan; instead there’s this:

“This is the real danger to corporate America in the cyber domain,” said Alec Ross, a senior fellow at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs.

Of all the Sony Pictures executives who have been mentioned in the context of the hack, I don’t recall seeing any Japanese names, so on that level it makes sense to consider this as an American story, not a Japanese story. Still, it seems a sign of the times that this was not at all taken as a reflection on Japanese influence, one way or another.