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Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011

HAVE YOUR SAY

Sexless marriages, ineffective police

Some readers' responses to Debito Arudou's Sept. 6 Just Be Cause column, " 'Sexlessness' wrecks marriages, threatens nation's future":

More sex needed in the media

The real issue that the article makes regards "sexlessness" itself, not its effect on marriage.

If Japanese are the least sexual group amongst 41 different countries, that is a real threat to Japan's public health. Loss of sexuality is often accompanied by depression and a general decline in well-being.

That deterioration of the overall public health is serious. Just as Canadians and Americans are too often obese and must take steps nationally to reduce the incidence of obesity, Japanese are too sexless, it appears, and should take steps to increase the incidence of healthy sexuality.

The media could certainly portray the benefits and pleasures of healthy sexuality, as could public health NGOs.

If Japanese mental health groups spoke of the benefits of healthy sex lives, that would seem to benefit all of society.

And the media could show that sexually active and healthy individuals of all ages are happier overall than less sexually active individuals.

CHARUZU KURINGUMANU
Hong Kong

Rants just an outlet for bitterness

I am a long-term (13 years) reader of your newspaper, and every morning I look forward to the latest edition.

I am, however, frequently offended by some of the "columns" in the Community section, particularly those by Mr. Arudou.

His childish rants seem to be merely an outlet for apparent bitterness about his failed marriage and his inability to make local friends.

He confuses gross generalizations and personal opinions with actual facts, and usually ends up contradicting himself and rendering the argument meaningless. A simple example is his claim in today's paper that sleeping around is "a national pastime in Japan." Not only does he fail to give any evidence to back up his claim, but he also follows by offering a statistic arguing that Japanese have the least sex in the world.

My personal opinion is that such rants would possibly be excusable in the Opinion section, but they serve as no reference in the Community section, the purpose of which is presumably to offer useful information to people who live in Japan.

Unprofessional writers such as Mr. Arudou discredit your fine paper.

KIMBERLEY YAMAMOTO

Obsession with child-raising key

Thanks for discussing such an important issue.

Sexless marriage puts huge costs on society in terms of people's productivity, happiness and health. Sexless marriages may be tolerable for those in which both partners are not interested in sex. But when one partner is interested and the other isn't, marriages can devolve into hostile stalemates, kept together by alcohol and paid sex services.

Why is the issue so hard to address? At the core of many sexless marriages are issues surrounding motherhood and, to a lesser degree, fatherhood. Couples become obsessed with raising their children and just about everything can seem more important than sex.

In a country where people's children seem destined to live a life with less economic opportunity than ever before, parents, and especially mothers, feel guilty having sex when they should be working to help their children succeed.

Japan's politicians, academics and entertainers are so far away from being able to honestly talk about this kind of issue that it just never gets discussed. When it occasionally does, the issue becomes manipulated by the media to be more marketable, hence the over-simplified TV dramas that make light of the issue.

Unfortunately, sexless marriage is just another unaddressed social issue, like the hikikomori phenomenon and school bullying. Japanese society is not good at soul-searching.

SHINJUKUEXEC

The following are just a couple of the letters The Japan Times received in response to the Sept. 6 Zeit Gist article by Simon Scott headlined "Kang family takes fight for justice to Tokyo." A South Korean documentary following the Kang family from the U.S. to Tokyo (in Hangul, but with portions in Japanese and English) can be viewed at cafe.daum.net/hanryulove/IwYk/449747?docid=5sb4

The cost of 'saving face'

This is such a sad incident. I don't doubt the family's position at all. With such injustices regularly occurring in Japan, sometimes I feel if I was to die of murder while travelling to Japan, I would not receive the justice I deserve. This is sad, scary and unfortunate.

The problems with Asians is their pride, and so-called "saving face." I suspect such practices as covering up murders as "accidents" are more widespread than is reported because the police are, for lack of kinder words, incompetent. Or rather, they fear being seen as such. To save face, I do not doubt that many officers in a country like Japan, where "face" is important, would feel a need to cover up murders.

Why? Because if they accept foul play was involved, then they must then try to solve it. If they try to solve it, they face the chance of failing to solve it. If they fail to solve it, their success rate will go down, and they "lose face." If they more regularly encounter accidents, they don't have to solve anything. Therefore, if they pass off difficult murder cases as accidents, especially those of foreigners — who people in Japan don't tend to care about — then their success rates remain high.

Why do I say the above? Think about it. The system does not make sense!

Why hide autopsy information from the next of kin after the investigation has been closed and determined to be an accident? If they were still investigating and did not want information to reach the public, believing that the information is crucial to making an arrest or for fair trial purposes, then sure, I can understand the reluctance, but in many cases, such as the case at hand, the investigation has ended. The case has been ruled an accident and probably will never be revisited again by the police in Japan.

This is just my theory, but as an Asian, as someone who understand the value of saving face and how annoying it can be when dealing with hard-core Asians from Asia, I do not doubt that it can result in a perversion of justice. To save face, Asians can murder, never mind messing with evidence and declaring something an accident in order to maintain high success rates for the investigative department.

JO PA
Edmonton, Alberta

Lessons from the English riots

The attitude of the Japanese police is disgusting, but more than that, it's very worrying.

It reminds me in part of the attitude of the police when I was back in England. The police there were, have been, and in many cases still are, seen as being largely ineffective as a police force.

This caused the public to lose respect and trust in the abilities of the police to do their job, a result of which is the recent rioting in England's major cities.

If there was a "problem," it was often more practical and quicker to solve it yourself or gather a group of friends together to solve it for you.

Yes, such behavior is illegal, but if no one else is able or willing to help, you have to take matters into your own hands.

The Japanese comedian Mr. Shinsuke Shimada recently had to quit because of ties with the yakuza resulting from their assistance with a "personal problem" he had in the past.

Does this mean we can look forward to the same rioting here in Japan as there was in England?

In order to prevent this, the Japanese police should stop being lazy and actually do the job they are supposed to do. Anything less will simply make them appear redundant to society and more liable to be bypassed or removed.

ADAM HARDING
Tokyo

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