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Re: Rumpus on Tokyo campus

Following are some readers’ responses to David McNeill’s June 9 Zeit Gist article “Rumpus on campus“:

Is history repeating itself?

The outrageous police-state tactics of Hosei University and the Japanese government lay bare the claim that Japan is anything like an enlightened democracy. Indeed, the old adage that “the nail that sticks up is hammered down” is reinforced by the reactionary behavior of the government to quell democratic freedom of thought, speech and expression.

This comes at a time when Japan has already paid billions of dollars since 2001 to support America’s “war on terror” and the war in Iraq. At the same time, there has been a social-engineering campaign to wean the public off the peacekeeping provision of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and reintroduce a more pronounced militaristic capability for Japan, moving away from a half-century of abstention from war.

If freedom of speech and thought are quelled with the brutal measures carried out at Hosei University at other public venues and universities in Japan, we can only imagine what the future may hold. In other words, will history be repeating itself?

I teach courses on social justice, antiwar and environmental preservation themes at some of the universities I am employed at in Japan. Many students have a very critical understanding and concern for the important trends that are shaping our future. I would hate to think that freedom of thought and speech will be snuffed out before we have a chance to bring the world back from another one of its huge blunders.

NAME WITHHELD

Tokyo

About more than graduating

I just wanted to say thanks for reporting on the issue of violence used against students in a place supposedly meant for education.

I think this quote sums up the problem: “I just want to graduate and leave.”

The problem, of course, is that some students wanted more out of college than to simply graduate and leave, and that is their crime.

MICHAEL GIAIMO

Richmond, Calif.

Reminders of prewar period

I was happy and relieved to see the article “Rumpus on Campus” by Mr. David McNeill. Thank you to The Japan Times and Mr. McNeill for taking up this outrageous incident.

I have been informed of the series of unforgivable events at the Hosei campus through a mailing list of a group I belong to. I was totally confused as to why major media had not reported this at all.

The scare tactics of the police and government have worked only too well. The general public should be made aware of these prewar-like actions by the police and the Hosei authorities.

YASUMI MURATA

Nagoya

Hosei, can you see?

Hosei, can you see by the dawn’s early light?

Ah, whatever happened to Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s dream of a democratic Japan?

In the near future there will be security thugs like those at Hosei on patrol at many of Japan’s finest colleges and universities. Nice to know that Japan’s rightwing fascist government is on track to restore the 1930s era of repression.

ROBERT MCKINNEY

Tokyo