Dear Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, Justice Minister Satsuki Eda and Prime Minister Naoto Kan: I am a 32-year-old student who was supposed to study for a semester at a Japanese university. I am a very good student; I have been a teaching assistant in my department for a year, and I have many professors at my university that would attest to my character and abilities.

It was my dream to finish a portion of my studies in Japan prior to moving on to pursue my ultimate goal of a Ph.D. My trip was funded through state and federal financial aid as well as with a major scholarship from a very large U.S. government agency.

I flew to Narita just before the new year. Upon landing, I checked "yes" to the question "Have you ever been convicted of a crime in Japan or any other country?" on the immigration form. I was quickly detained and questioned.