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Regarding the Feb. 23 article “Mag on foreigner crime not racist: editor“: I would like to comment on editor Shigeki Saka’s remark that publisher Eichi’s special magazine edition “Shocking foreigner crime: the underground file” does contain “a little bit of extreme expressions for commercial purposes.” I would like to redefine his statement simply as propaganda.

For a country that sends aid to Indonesia, assistance to Iraq and volunteer services around the world, this magazine does not fully encompass the heart of the Japanese people.

In addition, the fact that only 1,000 of these magazines were reportedly sold (as of late February) is a firm indication that the people of Japan do not agree with this statement. What remains to be seen, aside from the protests surrounding it, is how the magazine is being published.

Recently, the Japanese government actively involved itself in protesting the contents of the book “Princess Masako, Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne,” by Australian Ben Hills. On Feb. 12, the Japanese government took the unusual step of sending a local envoy to present letters of protest to Hills and Random House, which published the original edition, seeking an apology from them and claiming the book contained groundless, extremely insulting descriptions. The letters also came with a list of questions from the Imperial Household Agency.

How is it that the government can demand such an apology from an international publisher without holding Japanese publishers accountable for libel? For a country where ignorance is unforgivable, to claim that one meant no harm in publishing the foreigner-crime magazine is profound. Adding insult to injury is to claim such a publication is not racist.

sean doherty

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