The article ``East-West Thaw a Boon for Nations on the Sea of Japan,'' Sept. 27, on a peaceful and properous future for the Sea of Japan, slights North Korea's potential role. If the Democratic People's Republic of Korea remains a separate state and decides to participate in regional cooperation, its major port at Wonsan would become a central player. More optimistically, if the two Koreas follow Germany's example and unify, Wonsan might well surpass Pusan's importance in Japan Sea trade because of its proximity to all of central Korea. Edward A. Olsen, Monterey, Calif., Dept. of Nat'l Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School
Figuring out the facts Regarding the article ``Bowing to Conformity Limits Effectiveness,'' Sept. 25: As a Japanese reader, I acknowledge that Japanese newspapers are fact-oriented. But this has merit; the reader has the freedom to interpret facts on his own. Like Western papers, Japanese papers have opinion articles, letters columns, and special features that make readers think and keep them up to date. Japanese papers are not identical; ask any Japanese if they have a favorite newspaper, and they will answer in the affirmative with specific reasons for their choices. Tadahisa Asada, Champaign, Ill.
Food irradiation The sidebar to the article ``Food Irradiation at a Crossroads,'' Sept. 24, notes that the process of irradiating food for preservation `` ... has been studied more than any other food-processing method and no unfavorable health effects have been found.'' But according to one critic, `` ... some of those studies contain methodological flaws.''
Since only some of the studies contain flaws, it is safe to conclude that the majority are not flawed and that, indeed, no unfavorable health effects have been found. Yet critics would deny the benefits of this technology to third-world food processors, where refrigeration is less readily available, and thus consign these people to spoiled and potentially unsafe food. Robert B. Henn, Fort Washington, Pa.
Salvadoran military `myth' no myth The article ``Salvadoran Peace Talks Deadlock Over Military Reform,'' Sept. 20, states, ``Vargas also accused the guerrillas of `perpetuating a myth' that the military graduating class of 1966, a tightly knit group known as the tandona ... holds sway over the armed forces.'' This is not a myth perpetuated by the guerrillas. It is well known.
Within the last 10 years over 70,000 people have been killed in El Salvador, mostly innocent women and children. It's time for the American people to wake up to what our aid is doing in that country. It's time to stop sending millions of dollars to El Salvador. It's time to demand that we will no longer be a part of the slaughter. Gail L. Rien, Lancaster, Pa.