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Japan’s hapless health minister, Hakuo Yanagisawa, has drawn the ire of Japanese women with his comment on “baby-making machines.” Strangely, the far more offensive comments of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, as reported in the Feb. 10 article “Trash Constitution, face China threat: Ishihara,” do nothing to dint this man’s inflated reputation.

Can it be that Japanese citizens object to insensitive and discriminatory attitudes only when they themselves are the targets, while remaining indifferent when Chinese or Africans are smeared? If so, that bodes ill for the future of Japan.

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