25 February 2006

Raymond Yoshihiro Aka, 1915-2006

Saturday's Honolulu Star-Bulletin notes the death of one of the key behind-the-scenes people responsible Japan's postwar reconstruction.
Raymond Yoshihiro Aka, who was honored by the Japanese emperor for his work strengthening U.S.-Japanese relations, will be buried Friday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

Aka was 90 when he died Jan. 5 in Walnut Creek, Calif. The son of Japanese immigrants, Aka was born in Wailuku in 1915 but spent much of his childhood in Okinawa. He graduated from McKinley High School in 1939.

In September 1941, a few months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Aka was drafted while he was a student at the University of Hawaii. He served in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II and then as a warrant officer in the Japanese Liaison Office in Gen. Douglas MacArthur's Tokyo headquarters after the war.

After his honorable discharge in 1947, he became a civilian employee of the U.S. Department of the Army during Japan's postwar reconstruction and was involved in the drafting of the Japanese Constitution, civil service, election reform and the establishment of the police reserves.

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