• Abiko, Chiba

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If the image of Hachiko on his way to China on a junk freighter brought a smile at the expense of any “minority group” in Japan — as Eve Campbell alleges it might have in her April 8 letter, “A joke that can fan prejudices” — the only group that would qualify as the butt of such humor would be an international crime ring composed of Japanese, Chinese and other members — as many reports on illegal human and material traffic between Japan and China have noted.

I sent a link to the story that Campbell thinks The Japan Times should not have published as an April Fool’s Day joke — “Shibuya’s loyal dog Hachiko vanishes” — to several friends, including a Japanese woman who until recently was Chinese and is now writing a doctoral dissertation on China-Japan relations during the war years. Her first reaction was shock and sadness over Hachiko’s fate. She laughed, though, when she clicked on the picture. But then, she is intelligent.

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