Thursday, May 5, 2011

A letter to the Asahi Shimbun

On May 5, I wrote the following letter to the Asahi Shimbun and posted it on my blog.
On more than one occasion, the Japanese media has compared 9/11 to the earthquake that destroyed the northeast of Japan on 3/11. It is ironic, and probably not coincidental, that the reported death of bin Laden occurred now, soon after 3/11. Apparently, my government decided to bring to an end the 9/11 era now.

With one era gone, a new era should begin. I can think of no better time for Japan to embark on a new path. This should be your time to shine. But instead of doing something new, Japan is making the same mistakes that America made after 9/11.

On May 3, you wrote an article called “Tragedy brings remembrance of power of free speech.” In that article, you proclaimed the importance of free speech and vowed to honor the death of one of your reporters who was killed in 1987, apparently in an attempt to suppress free speech. I do not know what the Asahi Shimbun was like in 1987, but if you properly informed the public back then, all I can conclude is that the murder succeeded. After the murder, you cowered in a corner and you abandoned your responsibilities.

Case in point, on May 4, you wrote a series of articles based on the diplomatic cables uncovered by WikiLeaks. Out of the nearly 6,000 diplomatic cables written at the embassy in Tokyo, you chose to write about a dozen or so of them. That’s pathetic. That's not even one percent of the total and considering the quality of the articles you wrote, you might as well have not even written those articles to begin with. I can't imagine any of your readers understanding the relationship between America and Japan after reading those articles. The only people who would understand the relationship after reading those articles, is the people who understood the relationship before they bothered to read those articles. That makes those articles worthless and a waste of time. In fact, since the start of the year, the articles you've published have gotten successively worse and worse. That's quite a feat, given that they were never good to begin with. Let us speak again tomorrow, you wrote on May 3. For all the crap you've been putting out, you might as well keep your mouth shut.

After 9/11, America conducted several sets of inquiries into the attacks. None of these inquiries informed the public about what really happened. Instead, my government tried to use each of these inquires to scare other governments into doing something America wanted. Needless to say, this strategy didn't work out well.

Not one to learn the mistakes of others, it appears that you and your government are trying to do the same thing. I don't think it's a coincidence that you wrote that article about free speech and released those diplomatic cables less than a week before the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Your strategy is only wasting everyone's time and making people more and more angry. Other countries will take their retribution on you, knowing full well that you have no intention of telling the truth. China will give you nothing more than what you deserve. You should have learned after World War II that just because America or Europe does something, that does not mean that you should do the same thing.

This should be Ozawa's time to shine. His hometown was destroyed. He is the strong leader that Japan needs, or so we were told. But instead of being strong, he – like the Asahi Shimbun – has turned out to be a coward. Instead of fighting for his hometown, he has decided to cower in the same corner you live in.

You are cowards and hypocrites, beaten up by a pen that weighs less than a hundredth of what you weigh. How pathetic. If Japan is to have a new beginning, you need to do the same thing that Kan needs to do. You need to make way for someone else who can do your job better than yourself. You need to make way for someone who understands that they don't hate us for our freedom, they hate us for our hypocrisy. You need to make way for someone who understands that the people need to know the truth in a democracy. You need to make way for someone who understands that the world needs to have accountability for its leaders.
From what I can tell, the Japanese media did seem to change after I wrote this letter. Of course, they refused to tell the truth but they also stopped threatening to tell the truth.

Like I said, they are cowards.

In retrospect, it appears that Japan used my letter as an excuse for ending its policy of threatening to tell the truth. That must have pleased my government because, on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 140 points, Vonage shares rose 12 cents to $4.89 and TiVo shares rose 4 cents to $9.37. From May 4 to May 10, TiVo shares rose from $9.33 to $9.84.

No comments: