The Hong Kong International Airport was luckily open when I took a midnight flight from Haneda to see the street marches by defiant demonstrators over the weekend. The South China Morning Post carried the front-page headline "The night the city was set ablaze," which actually wasn't true.

The city was not ablaze. Just a few quarters of a huge entity with 7.5 million people were burning. Similarly, Tokyo's mainstream media reported that "Demonstrators clashed with the police elsewhere in the city and its downtown area was in chaos with tear gas." The reality, of course, was different.

In fact, Hong Kong as of Sept. 1 looked similar to Tokyo in 1969. A half a century ago in Japan, many liberal students were socialists. They organized street demonstrations and protested against the United States as well as the pro-American Japanese government and the conservative Liberal Democratic Party.