The timely response from the Feb. 11 editorial “Avoid hysteria over food” is a welcome antidote to the prevailing mass anti-Chinese hysteria in Japan fanned by a bigoted local media. From “second-rate toys” to every conceivable Chinese-made good, China is now the convenient bogeyman for any inferior or shoddy products — despite China being the No. 1 trading partner, a very big importer of Japanese goods and a contributor to Japan’s healthy budget surplus.

Furthermore, cheap Chinese-made goods play a crucial role in curbing inflation in Japan and much of the world. Have you ever wondered who, how and under what conditions those cheap toys, clothing and countless number of electrical appliances are made so that we can enjoy and take them for granted? How about the recent local food scandals in Japan concerning expired food products, substandard ingredients, etc.? Are they conveniently forgotten too?

Putting China in the worst light is unfortunately a favorite and routine pastime for some xenophobic Japanese and the press; however, I thought the reaction especially by the Japanese media has reached a new low.

This speaks volume of the deep animosity, fear and perhaps even jealousy that exist in this “neighborly” relationship. Despite the perceived ineptness of the Japanese government in many matters, the measured response and cool-headedness espoused by leaders (except the ex-foreign minister, who is quite gaffe-prone) is something to be commended. Let’s hope that they and their Chinese counterparts can unravel the truths of this crime before an unwelcome backlash from the Chinese side starts.

victor lee