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Regarding Yoshio Shimoji’s March 16 letter, “Wrong answers to angry questions,” which was a response to Billy Fanska’s March 9 letter, “Negative rhetoric defeats everyone”: I don’t think Fanska was minimizing the crimes committed by the U.S. military against Japanese citizens. Crime rates are meaningless to the tragic victims but are a strong indication of life here.

Criminal acts of any kind are abhorrent to Americans. We feel sickened and saddened by the actions of a few, and the harm and pain inflicted upon innocents. In addition to the victims, the collateral damage to my country in the world’s eyes cannot be easily erased. We all suffer to some degree in the long run.

What Fanska, I think, was suggesting is that the Japanese media has the tendency to sensationalize stories regarding foreign perpetrators, even before actual prosecution occurs. In Western societies, one is deemed innocent, until proven guilty.

It is also curious that in crimes involving Japanese against foreigners, there is not much public outrage or indignation. The lovely British teacher Lindsay Hawker, and her nauseating killing in March of last year, comes to mind. This case seems to have evaporated from the media, and the host country, Japan, has suffered minimally, in comparison.

barbara cavolick