• Tokyo


Regarding the March 7 article “Aso’s kanji conundrums spur self-reflection, textbook sales“: It is true that Prime Minister Taro Aso sometimes misreads kanji. However, I wonder what opposition lawmaker Hajime Ishii’s intention was last month when he held up a chart with a dozen difficult words and asked Aso during a Diet session, “Can you read these kanji?”

It was quite an eye-catching performance broadcast all over Japan — making fun of the prime minister in public. Still, I doubt that Ishii’s remarks were worthy of a gentleman. The Diet is not a quiz show. Moreover, in light of Japan’s economic circumstances, lawmakers are supposed to be discussing measures against the recession, unemployment first. Do they deserve their annual income when they behave this way?

I also look at this incident differently for another reason. There are people in every country who are dyslexic, who have difficulty reading and writing words. Some are considered geniuses or celebrities. A couple of years ago, the government enacted a law to help students with these problems. In fact, many doctors and researchers have been studying the problems for years. Therefore, I hope that lawmakers will pay closer attention to what they say in public.

naoko nakanishi

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.