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Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008

JAPAN LITE

Tell me 'taint so!


Dear Prime Minister Aso,

I would like to apply for the position recently vacated by Seiichi Ota — that of agriculture minister. I can empathize with you on the current rice scandal and I believe I can help you overcome this. As a matter of fact, I evaded authorities for years while working as an independent contractor under the title of Master of Coverups for Defective Products. In addition, I have another qualification for becoming Japan's agriculture minister: I like cows.

As you can see by my enclosed resume, I started working in the food business in 1997, with Snowball Brand Milk Products, Inc. You may recall the food poisoning incident that summer that affected 14,000 people? That experience was invaluable. Let's just say I now know a lot about enterotoxin A.

I was transferred to another division of Snowball Brand and in 1998 and 1999 was trained in relabeling and mislabeling meat. I am quite good at passing off foreign beef as homegrown. But what surprised me most was that after I had saved Snowball Brand so much money through this clever marketing, they still let me go! Those ungrateful slobs.

After that, I took up a part-time job at Miss Donut where I was in charge of milkshakes. Then, at a job fair in Tokyo in 2003, I was discovered by the Fujiyama Co. With Fujiyama, I was in charge of quality control of their bakery products.

I think I did an admirable job pushing ingredients to their expiration limits and saving the company stacks of money by getting the most out of their products. We could have made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest shelf life of fresh baked goods.

I'd also like to point out that none of those illnesses from the Fujiyama cream puffs came from my stores. To tell you the truth, the way I achieved this was through a quality-control program I introduced whereby I could rotate the bakery goods on a daily basis by remote control from my home.

Via hidden camera, I could watch customers and size them up as soon as they walked into the store.

I knew exactly when certain cream puffs would expire, for example, so if I saw a customer who looked like she'd eat a cream puff immediately upon purchase (like if her kids were waiting outside in the car) I'd wait till the mother turned her back and I'd move some of the soon-to-expire-at-any-moment cream puffs to the front. This is smart marketing.

When Fujiyama closed its doors, however, I was out of a job. But someone in Miyazaki recognized my talents for bringing in profits, and in 2004 I did the most amazing thing yet: I passed off Taiwanese eels as Japanese!

Now, c'mon, all eels look alike and I knew no one would be able to tell the difference. Just because those Taiwanese eels were foreign eels doesn't mean they weren't just as good as Japanese eels. So we just labeled them Japanese. It's like giving the Taiwanese eels citizenship rights.

And now, rice tainted with pesticides: methamidophos, acetamiprid, and the mold toxin aflatoxin! Tell me 'taint so! The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry should have hired me a year and nine months ago, when they first found out about this and when I could have gotten them out of this high and dry.

As the new agriculture minister, I am confident I could turn this rice situation around. But it's going to cost us. Even cows with Alzheimer's can tell the difference between good Japanese rice and that moldy foreign stuff. Perhaps we should ask opinions from foreign experts such as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

With my ability to manipulate, deceive and swindle, a situation like this tainted rice scare would never surface again. I assure you I could pull the wool over the eyes of the Japanese public indefinitely.

I have great faith in the Aso administration. As you pointed out earlier, we really ought to thank China for the gyoza scare earlier this year as this has added value to Japanese products, which are clean and safe.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some comic books to catch up on. I'll be waiting for your call.

Respectfully yours,

Mr. Yaki M. Meshi

Master of Coverups for Defective

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