The March 25 article "Korea-Japan dispute strains longstanding alliances" highlights delicate international relations in Northeast Asia, which are very detrimental to US efforts to bring North Korea back to the nuclear negotiation table. The recent South Korea-Japan dispute has attracted much media attention, but Japan concurrently also has very strained relations with China, Russia, and North Korea.
Japan should realize that to play a bigger international role, it must face history and not reopen the wounds of its former victims. ("Close neighbors are dearer than distant relatives.")
Japan cannot afford to continue to hurt neighboring countries by whitewashing wartime history and unilaterally dictating territorial disputes. Without the support of its neighbors, Japan's international ambitions will not be realized.
To the extent that recent developments in Northeast Asia may spill over to the six-party talks on North Korean nuclear disarmament, the United States, as the most influential power in the region and Japan's key ally, must step in to help the Japanese government rein in the rightist movement. Japan must improve its relations with South Korea, China, and Russia now. Otherwise a united front may not be formed in dealing with North Korea.
Assistant professor of international political economy and diplomacy, University of Bridgeport
Thank you for the March 24 article "Well after 9/11, 'no fly' lists a work in progress" on the Transportation Security Administration's terrorist watch lists. Both my father and I are now subject to "special handling" at airports, though our middle names do not match the persons sought and are clearly spelled out on our driver's licenses and passports.
Those of us with similar names are in a catch-22. Our full legal names do not exactly match those on the lists, so, in essence, our names really aren't on the lists - which means we can't argue for our names to be taken off the lists.
Solutions to the problem could include Israeli-style profiling and questioning prior to all domestic and international flights or the use of biometric identifications such as thumbprints. Many states already take thumbprints at issuance or renewal of driver's licenses.
Closer to home, there are five Don Youngs on file at my local video store and my dentist has three Don Youngs as clients - none of us related. I'm glad I don't have to pay their late fees or dental bills just because I have a similar name.
Donald A. Young
Regarding the March 22 article "US-Mexican border as a terror risk": All the hand-wringing over the Mexican border amazes me. I've spent about 20 years in county law enforcement, mostly in western New Mexico. I have seen and detained hundreds of Mexican aliens, and I travel in Mexico frequently.
In simple fact, 99 percent of the illegal crossers from Mexico are looking for work. If our country is serious about illegal entry, it can be stopped in a very short time. Put some teeth in the enforcement of laws against hiring these people. If there were to be aggressive enforcement, including severe penalties for employing illegals, that would curtail the demand, and the supply would dwindle to a trickle.
Who, then, would work in Utah's ski industry, California's produce production, and the numerous other jobs now filled by underpaid, unprotected illegal alien workers?
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.
Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.