An ‘inflammatory' and partial view of a Japanese statesman

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I would like to correct the erroneous stance taken by your The Post's March 8 editorial "Poisonous thinking in Japan."

First of all, I am not the head of the foreign affairs committee in the House of Councillors, as the editorial suggests, but one of the six directors (not the head) of the ad hoc Research Committee on International Affairs and Global Warming Issues. Nor am I responsible for policymaking in my capacity as director-general of the International Department of the Democratic Party of Japan, as The Post implied.

Furthermore, I agreed to talk to The Post's writer in my personal capacity, regarding the agreed-upon topic of Japan's response to immigration, and he agreed that the opinions I expressed were my own and not party or government policy. I find it disturbing that the writer chose to use our informal chat after the interview in such an inflammatory way.

Above all, I strongly protest The Post's statement that my views exhibit a "profound distrust" of the United States and "reflect a strain of anti-American thought" in my party and the Japanese government. I have many American friends and have spent many decades endeavoring to serve as a bridge between the two countries..

I believe I am owed an apology for this attempt to damage my credibility by painting me with "poisonous thinking," "conspiratorial views," "intellectually bogus," "lunatic fringe" and "reckless and fact-averse," despite the fact that I had never stated "conspiracy" as such.

Yukihisa Fujita, Tokyo

The writer is a member of Japan's House of Councillors.

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I was surprised to read The Post's editorial regarding Yukihisa Fujita of Japan. The portrait painted of the senator was troubling to me. However, it was not the whole story.

Mr. Fujita is one of the few Japanese who have listened to my plea for help in resolving the issue that has haunted some former POWs for 65 years. In 2008, I told him about Japan's "Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative." Under this program, the government of Japan has spent more than $14 million to invite 1,200 former POWs of Japan and their families to Japan to promote reconciliation. Mr. Fujita was embarrassed to learn that his country had excluded American POWs from this program. He promised to correct this injustice.

Soon, through Mr. Fujita's persistent and quiet efforts, the government of Japan may finally invite a handful of aging American POWs to Japan. Any efforts to widen the program will no doubt come from his efforts.

The Post's editorial writer told only part of the story of Mr. Fujita. It is unfortunate that he missed the good work he has done.

Lester Tenney, Carlsbad, Calif.

The writer is a survivor of the Bataan death march and Past National Commander of American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor.


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