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Sunday, Sept. 3, 2006

READERS IN COUNCIL

Greater annoyance keeps trucking


Tokyo

Regarding the Aug. 29 front-page article "Monk with JCP fliers ruled not trespassing": While it's good news that Yosei Arakawa was acquitted of charges of trespassing for distributing Japan Communist Party fliers at a Tokyo housing complex, this shouldn't stop us from pondering a few questions.

Why is it that there have been several prosecutions of people distributing JCP flyers -- a minor annoyance at worst -- but none of any rightwing sound trucks that cruise around the capital deliberately annoying and harassing people on a daily basis? Why is it the laws on trespassing can be so scrupulously enforced, while the ones on noise pollution can be so blatantly ignored?

Why is it that the JCP, not connected to any political violence in Japan for decades, is so closely monitored, while these rightwing groups, which consistently employ violence and threats as a weapon to silence free speech -- the Aug. 15 arson attack on the home of Liberal Democratic Party dissenter Koichi Kato being the most recent example -- are free to operate?

These questions suggest their own answers -- that there are elements in the police and LDP that find it useful to allow a continued rightwing threat to suppress certain opinions. The germ of fascism continues to taint Japanese democracy.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.


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