Missives from the front lines
There are many people who are better versed in answering this question than I am, but a blogger named Julian Abagond explained it well in 2010 in a widely cited post: “The Japanese see anime characters as being Japanese,” Abagond said. “It is Americans who think they are white. Why? Because to them white is the Default Human Being.”
That’s not just a cultural viewpoint, it’s also Hollywood’s go-to assumption. Returning to Oshii’s original point, if the Major’s physical form is an assumed one, that means she could be anything. Japan, however, is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries on the planet.
Irony is in the middle of the room, laughing her ass off. As Joni Mitchell sang, "Laughing or crying, you know it's the same release."