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Oh, the ire that Masahiro Matsumura’s article seemed to provoke from Wilson Hartz Jr. in the Dec. 20 letter, “Option of pulling out of Japan.” Perhaps it was certain lines in Matsumura’s article, such as “Hatoyama intends to turn away from the declining U.S. hegemon and reach out to a rising China” or “Hatoyama has simply stressed Japan’s need to be on an equal footing in alliance management with the U.S.,” that did it.

While Hartz may be well be justified in questioning a change of direction for Japan, which has been a pushover for the United States when it came to sending Self-Defense Force units to Iraq, for example, Hartz’s response is a reminder that it is often never enough to simply like America. Maybe the debate might be better served with a less emotive response.

hugh keith-johnston