Japan appoints anime ambassador


There's been a lot of discussion over the past few years about the United States' pitiful efforts at public diplomacy. Maybe the State Department just isn't being creative enough:

Japan has created an unusual government post to promote animation, and named a perfect figure Wednesday to the position: a popular cartoon robot cat named Doraemon.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura appointed the cat an "anime ambassador," handing a human-sized Doraemon doll an official certificate at an inauguration ceremony, along with dozens of "dorayaki" red bean pancakes — his favorite dessert — piled on a huge plate.

Komura told the doll, with an unidentified person inside, that he hoped he would widely promote Japanese animated cartoons, or "anime."

"Doraemon, I hope you will travel around the world as an anime ambassador to deepen people's understanding of Japan so they will become friends with Japan," Komura told the blue-and-white cat.


McCain calls for Jerusalem as Israel's capital


John McCain earned himself headlines in Israel today when he said, "I support Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

Professing support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, though it is not internationally recognized as such, has become a time-honored political tradition for U.S. presidents and would-be presidents. Since the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed Congress in 1995, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem has been the official policy of the United States. And yet, every six months, the president signs a waiver that says, "[My] Administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem." It never happens, for the obvious reason that the move would cause an uproar in the Arab world. Last year, El Salvador and Costa Rica became the last coutries to move their embassies to Tel Aviv, even though the Knesset and the prime minister's offices are located an hour's drive away in Jerusalem. I doubt a President McCain would upend the status quo, notwithstanding his suggestive comments today.