SAPPORO – Two universities, in Osaka and Hokkaido prefectures, have received letters urging them to fire former Asahi Shimbun reporters working for them, threatening to plant explosives on their campuses if they don’t, police said Tuesday.
Tezukayama Gakuin University in Osakasayama, Osaka prefecture, said it received a letter on Sept. 13 saying it must dismiss a professor who had been working for the university since April 2012 because he wrote, while working at the Asahi, erroneous articles that were based on claims by Seiji Yoshida, a man who said he was involved in the kidnapping of Korean women who were then forced into sexual servitude for the wartime Japanese military. The victims came to be known euphemistically as “comfort women.”
The sender of the letter included nails in the envelope, threatening to attack students by blowing up a gas bomb using the nails as shrapnel.
The professor resigned the same day on his own, according to the university.
The Asahi Shimbun admitted on Aug. 5 that 16 articles on Yoshida were erroneous, and stated, although without naming names, that the 67-year-old professor was the one who first reported on Yoshida. The Asahi, however, published a correction in Monday’s paper, saying that while it confirmed the professor had written several articles about Yoshida, he was not the first to report on him.
According to police, similar letters were sent to the president of Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo on May 29 and July 28, threatening to plant explosives if the university didn’t dismiss a part-time instructor who reported about a former comfort woman in 1991, when he was an Asahi reporter.
Hokusei Gakuen said it has received numerous emails and faxed messages about the part-time instructor since mid-March. It also received a phone call threatening to set off an explosive on the campus. The university later issued a statement saying it would remain resolute in the face of such threats, which infringed on the university’s autonomy.
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