Spy Games: The Cold War and Japan - Part 2
Second in a three-part series
TOKYO — The postwar history of Japan was rife with tales of intrigue and color, but none were quite as bizarre as that involving an Australian liquor salesman named Eric Drew, who specialized in fake ID cards and other activities that eventually landed him in a Tokyo jail and on the front page of the country’s leading daily the Asahi Shimbun.
Drew's own particular specialty arose out of the fact that he did not like Japanese food very much. He much preferred beef instead. Since Japanese beef was too expensive for his budget, however, and he had no military PX privileges to allow him to shop at PX butcher shops, he decided to manufacture a false U.S. military identification or ID card to gain access to such places. He went to a Japanese printer, had the ID design copied and a card made up, identifying him as a civilian employee of the American government. It worked like a charm, so well, in fact, that he had 500 more of the highly illegal cards printed up and distributed them to all his friends. Among them were his Chinese tailor, a West-German import-exporter, a Russian salesman, a Greek businessman, an American teacher, fellow salesmen at the Yokota branch of the IOS where Drew also worked temporarily, as well as assorted Japanese acquaintances, including a professor from a university in Tokyo, all of whom were living in Tokyo, and all of whom began to experience the joys of shopping on post exchanges where the goods were of fairly high quality and the prices dirt cheap, thanks to military discounts. Since there were already several thousand civilian workers of various nationalities on U.S. government payrolls in Japan, all with their own ID’s, no one noticed the addition of 500 new card holders.