Because of an editing error, the letter by Pat Choate on Saturday's Free for All page contained the wrong title for his book. The correct title is "Agents of Influence." (Published 10/16/90)

Michael Kinsley's ad hominem tour de force {"Reinventing the Yellow Peril," op-ed, Sept. 6} was freckled with inaccuracies and errors of omission. Though he stated otherwise, I have neither a "golden parachute" nor a consulting agreement with TRW, where I served until recently as vice president for policy analysis. In fact, I have no relation of any sort with TRW.

Kinsley asserted that Japan's auto lobby has not achieved the roaring "success" I claim it has because the "U.S. government has imposed a quota on Japanese car imports for almost a decade." He must have forgotten that the federal government eliminated these quotas in 1985. Moreover, the Japanese automakers' success that my book, "The Yellow Peril," describes referred to an incident during which the Japan lobby used its clout to persuade the Bush administration to reduce import tariffs for "light" trucks.

In 1989 the Treasury Department agreed to classify Japan's light trucks as "passenger vehicles" upon entry into the United States, thereby reducing customs duties from 25 percent of their price to 2.5 percent. The Bush administration further agreed to reclassify the same vehicles as "trucks" once in the United States so that they could avoid the more rigid federal fuel efficiency and safety standards applied to passenger cars.

The cost of this bureaucratic two-step is $500 million a year. Kinsley argued that all this was good for the American consumer, as though prices on Japanese trucks dropped by 22.5 percent in return for the tariff break. But truck prices have not fallen -- the $500 million goes to Japanese automakers, and lost revenues are made up by U.S. taxpayers.

Quoting from an excerpt of the book in the current Harvard Business Review, Kinsley erred further in dismissing as "harmless" the efforts of the Japanese government to influence the content of U.S. elementary and secondary teaching.

As my book documents, the Japanese provide hundreds of schools across this nation with lesson plans, primary source documents, videotapes and handouts that often present Japanese propaganda as fact. These materials gloss over Japan's subjugation of Korea, Taiwan and China and omit atrocities committed by Japan before and during World War II.

Kinsley also said that "lobbyists for Japanese companies are usually pushing to keep America's market open." What they are also doing, which he did not mention, is making sure the United States does not use access to its markets as a crowbar to open Japan's markets to our competitive goods and services.

Kinsley scoffed at the "contention that Japan has succeeded in brainwashing the American people into a state of catatonic approval." Yet polls show that more than two-thirds of the American public would close U.S. markets as a means of opening Japan's. The success of the Japan lobby is evident in its ability to thwart that sentiment in Washington.

Kinsley was right that American business spends more on lobbying in Washington than Japanese corporations do. But Japanese lobbyists are more effective. When Ford, General Motors, Chrysler and the United Auto Workers banded together to defeat the light-truck tariff reclassification, they were trounced. The Japan lobby, moreover, is backed up by Japanese diplomats who do not hesitate to make commercial issues a litmus test of U.S.-Japan relations. As a result, the U.S. government regularly trades off economic interests for diplomatic and foreign policy considerations.

The greatest irony of Kinsley's critique of my book was that my book opens with Kinsley's own words: Soon after he arrived in Washington, Kinsley wrote, "The real scandal in Washington is not what is done illegally, but what is done legally."

If I were to rewrite my book's conclusion, I would use Kinsley's article as a classic example of how a Washington outsider who once criticized a lack of ethics in the capital became an insider who is one of this trend's most persuasive apologists. Pat Choate