JAPAN TIMES • 25 September 1987


Director Oliver Stone Says Japan Should ‘Speak Out and Use Its Muscle’ Politically

By BRIAN COVERT
STAFF WRITER

OSAKA — Japan should use its worldwide economic influence to challenge an increasing U.S. military presence and foster open trade with the Soviet Union, says Oliver Stone, director of the movie “Platoon.”

“I do wish Japan would speak out and use its muscle to really tone down the Cold War, and to make America aware that it cannot bully the world the way it has for the last 30 years,” he said Wednesday in a Japan Times interview.

The Academy Award-wining director of “Platoon,” the 1986 motion picture based on his experiences in the Vietnam War, both criticized and praised Japan as an economic role model caught between the two world superpowers.

“Unfortunately, Japan stands for nothing politically,” he said. “Japan says nothing, does nothing, presents no alternative” to U.S.-Soviet confrontations.

The Asian nation’s strengths, however, lie in its potential to bring about world peace through economic change, said Stone.

“The only speck of hope I see is that at least Japanese prosperity is hungry for new markets.” This could eventually help open the closed societies of the Soviet Union and China, while lending stability to other developing countries, he said.

“Economic democracy such as has been brought about by Japan is certainly positive.”

U.S. as ‘repressor’

Stone, whose credentials also include stints as a screenplay writer for the movies “Midnight Express” and “Year of the Dragon,” was a guest speaker Wednesday at a cultural symposium sponsored by the new Osaka International House.

Stone said he foresees President Ronald Reagan’s military policies in Central America and the Middle East leading to another kind of Vietnam War, where Stone fought as a U.S. Marine.

“I see that as inevitable because of the unfortunate Cold War policy that has come into being in the 20th century,” he said. “Our interests are essentially that of an imperial power.”

The only difference next time, he says, will be the lack of support from the American public to fight another major war.

“I think the American people don’t want to bleed anymore,” said Stone.

A more subtle “strategic defense initiative” will be the foundation of any future conflicts, he predicted.

Breakthroughs?

Recent arms reduction talks between the Soviet Union and the U.S. are encouraging, says Stone.

He credited Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s “glasnost” policies as setting the stage for negotiations.

“Certainly they wouldn’t have gotten this far unless Gorbachev had come to power,” he said, “and I’m all for him.”

“The right-wing (faction) of the United States obviously sees it as a sham, and would only be content with the complete annihilation of the Soviet Union and the communist system,” he said. “ They (the rightists) are the most dangerous people in the world.”

Stone’s version of the American capitalist system — a $15 million motion picture called “Wall Street” — will be released in December. The film features a return performance by “Platoon” star Charlie Sheen.

Stone attributes the overwhelming success of “Platoon” to its acceptance by the American public.

“I think people had to be reminded that there had been a Vietnam War not too long ago, before it vanished in the mist of memory.”

( © Japan Times 1987)