Thursday, June 3, 2010

Japan's bureaucracy can learn from Britain

The Asahi Shimbun interviewed Sir Graham Fry on June 3, 2010.

“In Japan, documents that are crucial to lawsuits are not always submitted to the courts,” said the Asahi Shimbun. “Did you know that?”

“No,” replied Sir Graham Fry. “Do you mean the government hides the documents? That would be very serious. Concealment is the worst thing to do.”

In all likelihood, the Asahi Shimbun was referring to the documents related to the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. The bureaucrats have claimed that some of those documents have been destroyed. I really doubt that. But some of those documents are needed for the trial of Takichi Nishiyama, a former reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun. Over the past 30 years, Nishiyama and the government have been “fighting” one another in court over the release of those documents.

The Asahi Shimbun probably asked Sir Graham Fry this question in order to get a British official to say that the documents should be released. Of course, the last thing the British want is for the public to know the truth. I think the Asahi Shimbun was having a little bit of fun at the expense of Mr. Fry.

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