I Don't Back Extremists

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In "The Rise of Japan's Thought Police" [Outlook, Aug. 27], author Steve Clemons engaged in an attack on my integrity and also was wrong on key facts. Mr. Clemons's statements and the facts are as follows.

Mr. Clemons: The Sankei Shimbun newspaper and Yoshihisa Komori are somehow aligned with "an increasingly militant group of extreme right-wing activists who yearn for a return to 1930s-style militarism."

My response: Sankei is a mainstream Japanese newspaper distributing 2.2 million copies daily. Neither Sankei nor I have any association whatsoever with any such activists.

Mr. Clemons: Mr. Komori is "not unaware that his words frequently animate them [terrorists] -- and that their actions in turn lend fear-fueled power to his pronouncements, helping them silence debate."

My response: Mr. Clemons is accusing me of deliberately trying to inspire acts of terror. He provides no substantiation, nor could he, for this assertion. In short, both Sankei and I denounce and oppose such acts.

Sankei severely condemned the recent deplorable arson that burned the house of Koichi Kato, a political opponent of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, for which Mr. Kato personally thanked the editors.

Mr. Clemons: Mr. Komori stifled freedom of expression.

My response: I reported on a government-funded institute that was disseminating, exclusively in English for an overseas audience, highly opinionated criticism and misrepresentations of government policies and leaders. I strongly support free speech, including informing the public about government-funded, ostensibly objective policy institutes facilitating such attacks. I did not, as Mr. Clemons asserted, demand an apology or any other action from anyone.



The Sankei Shimbun


© 2006 The Washington Post Company