Chalmers Johnson, contrarian scholar on Asia, diesTOKYO
American scholar Chalmers Johnson, a sharp critic of U.S. foreign policy whose views on Japan's economic rise bucked the establishment 30 years ago, has died at age 79.
The author of at least 17 books over five decades, Johnson had argued that America's heavy military presence and operations worldwide would eventually lead to retaliation. His book "Blowback: The Cost and Consequences of American Empire," predated the Sept. 11 attacks by over a year.
"'Blowback' is shorthand for saying that a nation reaps what it sows, even if it does not fully know or understand what it has sown," he wrote in the book.
Johnson rose to prominence in the 1980s, when he argued that Japan's sudden development as an economic power was carefully orchestrated by government policy and not the result of open capitalism. The view, which he detailed in books such as "MITI and the Japanese Miracle," was heavily criticized at the time but has since become widely accepted.
While the book was about Japan and its Ministry of International Trade and Industry, it led to broader study of how governments set financial policy to foster economic growth.
He was founder and president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, a think tank in San Francisco.
Johnson died at his California home Saturday, where he has been under hospice care, his wife Sheila wrote in a posting on the institute's website.
Born in Buckeye, Arizona, Johnson first visited Japan in 1953 as a Navy officer. He taught for 30 years at the University of California campuses at Berkeley and San Diego, and was a former consultant for the CIA.
His cause of death was not immediately known.