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In her March 21 letter, “Is U.S. qualified to throw stones?,” Noriko Yoshimoto questions whether the “comfort women” issue is being used by the United States to put political pressure on Japan in an effort to pacify North Korea during current negotiations. She also (quite rightly) criticizes the U.S. mainstream media on its coverage of the Iraq war.

As to whether the U.S. is qualified to “poke its nose into a very sensitive, 60-year-old issue,” the answer is: probably not. But is the attitude of the Japanese mainstream media any more commendable than that of its American counterparts? How else can one explain the fact that the comfort women has been an issue for 60 years?

The Japanese tendency in politics, the press and, more significantly, its educational system to refuse to deal with “sensitive” issues ensures with certainty that any country that may find it politically expedient to use these issue to their own advantage (and at Japan’s expense) are free to do so.

Is this issue being “taken up now” to pacify North Korea? Perhaps, but it would be more reasonable to assume that the rise of Democratic Party clout in U.S. politics has more to do with it. The Democrats have had this issue on their agenda for a long time now, regardless of any considerations given to the current North Korea talks.

timothy khaki

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