Japanese columnist in China apologizes for lying about education

Kyodo

A well-known Japanese columnist based in China has apologized to his Chinese readers for blatantly lying about his educational background.

“In my previous remarks, either publicly or privately, I mentioned that I was admitted as a student of the University of Tokyo but turned down that opportunity, which is not the truth,” Yoshikazu Kato wrote on the Sina Weibo microblogging site, according to a report Friday in the state-run China Daily.

“I apologize for the confusion and misunderstanding caused by my immaturity, arrogance and ignorance,” Kato said on the microblog Wednesday. “And I will try my best to endeavor to become a more trustworthy person.”

The 28-year-old also posted an apology on his Japanese-language website after an article in Japan’s Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine Wednesday accused him of lying to Chinese media about his admission to the nation’s most elite university. It is believed Kato failed to pass the college’s entrance exam.

The article also pointed out, without elaborating, that while Kato claimed he was sponsored by the Japanese government while attending Peking University in a book he published in China, he also stated that the Chinese Education Ministry had funded his studies in a book he released in Japan.

Currently a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Kato is often featured in both Chinese and Japanese media as a commentator.

According to his website, he enrolled in Peking University after graduating from a Japanese high school in 2003. After obtaining a master’s degree in international relations from the institution, he worked as one of its researchers from September 2010 until this June.

In the wake of the Shukan Bunshun report, Chinese media, including the People’s Daily and China Central Television, another Communist Party mouthpiece, ran reports about Kato’s false statements, indicating his high profile in the country.

“Yoshikazu is a smart young man but as his teacher, I have the impression that he tends to boast sometimes,” Zhu Feng, a professor who taught Kato at Peking University, was quoted as saying Thursday by the state-run China National Radio.