• Kobe, Hyogo

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Regarding Brian Clacey’s Jan. 1 letter, “On the lookout for a slight”: Clacey asks why “Jap” is considered racist while “Brit” is not. This is just one aspect of insidious double standards. Clacey might think “Brit” is innocuous, but how about “Eurotrash,” which figures in American movies and publications? Can you imagine the uproar if anyone used the term “Asiatrash?”

Then there was the abuse heaped on the French for not participating in a war to eliminate weapons of mass destruction that never existed, while ignoramuses fell over themselves to assure Japan that it had been “an honorable enemy” in World War II — it certainly was not — and that no parallels were to be drawn between 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.

It would take too long to list all the gratuitously anti-British movies emanating from the United States, but take a look at just three, “Cliffhanger,” “Ronin” and “Babel,” and see the bigotry. All this might not matter so much except that now people are realizing that Japan, unlike the “Eurotrash” Germans, has never come to terms with its wartime past, and has not developed into a real liberal democracy. There is a police force unwilling to act against rightwing thugs who use violence to suppress freedom of speech, many yakuzappoimembers of a “Self-Defense Force,” and politicians who persist in rewriting history and depicting Japan as a victim.

Why did Japan never achieve the fundamental make-over that Germany did? Well, after 1945, the U.S. regarded the Japanese as little Asian brothers, from whom it would be unfair to expect the same standards as the Germans and other Europeans.

barry andrew ward

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