SASABE, Ariz. (AP) — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is defending his use of a Japanese greeting when responding to a question from a congresswoman of Japanese descent.
The Arizona Republic that Zinke was asked about his use of the word “konnichiwa’’ while touring the U.S-Mexico border in Arizona on March 17.
Zinke told reporters: “How could ever saying ‘good morning’ be bad?’’
On March 15, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, of Hawaii, asked Zinke whether he would continue a program that preserves sites where Japanese Americans were interned during World War II.
Zinke replied with “konnichiwa’’ — a Japanese greeting typically spoken in the afternoon. The Democratic congresswoman corrected him and used the Japanese phrase for good morning.
In a statement on March 17, Hanabusa said “this is precisely why Japanese Americans were treated as they were more than 75 years ago. It is racial stereotyping.’’