Regarding the Feb. 29 front-page article “Beijing pins ‘gyoza’ blame on Japan end“: Taking umbrage seems to be the prevailing style in Japan-China relations nowadays, as the squabble between police authorities in both countries concerning pesticide-laden gyoza amply illustrates. The Chinese side claims the contamination must have taken place in Japan, while the Japanese side says the gyoza must have been tampered with before leaving China.

What is evident is the superficiality of the claims on both sides. For example, the Japanese police claim the pesticide methamidolphos could only have been manufactured in China because it has many impurities. But couldn’t a “food terrorist” who knew what he was doing obtain the poison in China, bring it to Japan and then place it in the gyoza before the product went on the shelves? Some parties in Japan have a lot of motivation for fanning consumers’ fears about imported food (domestic agricultural interests or anti-China rightists).

On the Chinese side, factory workers were interviewed by the authorities and nothing wrong seems to have turned up. But couldn’t one or more of the workers be lying, or even the Chinese officials themselves — to save China’s “face” during this all-important Olympic year? A lot of umbrage is being taken, but I doubt we will get to the bottom of this sordid business.

donald seekins