This month's Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan magazine features the Senkaku island dispute. the article is written by a former editor of The Economist, Bill Emmott, and working with him we decided on this cover design. It has something of the feel of an Economist cover. The Number 1 Shimbun editor wanted to lead with the political "insanity" that is called out in the article, so I had the Senkaku – plus two other groups of islands under dispute in Japan – as marbles that the political leaders had lost.
Before we knew Bill Emmott would be writing the piece and his choice of angle, I came up with the cover below which concentrated more blatantly on the political and coast-guard confrontations over the islands. The Senkaku islands, and other disputed islands, have different names in China, Korea and Russia than they do in Japan, and I had the names crossed out as each side stuck its finger up at the other, with events in China getting the most heated.