From the Editor

Embassy Press Officer David Marks Dear readers,

Happy New Year, and welcome to the first issue of "American View" in 2008.

I believe that we have a very interesting year ahead of us. One topic that is sure to dominate the American news is the campaign for the next president of the United States. In "American Presidential Elections," Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University in Washington, DC, gives our readers a helpful overview of our somewhat complicated system. Professor Lichtman expertly explains the process, describing it as a drama in three distinct acts, and gives us his analytical method for the keys to the White House.

Turning to a global issue faced by both the U.S. and Japan, Embassy officer Scott Hansen discusses trafficking in persons in "Japan's Fight Against Modern-Day Slavery." Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat that deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, increases global health risks, and fuels the growth of organized crime. Mr. Hansen gives us an in-depth perspective in Part I of this two-part series. Our Spring issue will carry the second installment of his article.

In addition to the American officers at our mission in Japan, we are blessed with local staff members who fully put their hearts and minds into their work. Some, such as Fuji Takayasu at our Consulate General in Naha, take an interest developed at the office to the next level through academic pursuits. After the issue of Okinawan artifacts believed to have been taken to the U.S. as war booty arose in her work, Takayasu-san undertook research for a master's thesis that investigated the "Provenance of Okinawan Artifacts in the United States."

I wish you health and prosperity in the new year, and hope that you will enjoy our Winter 2008 issue of "American View."