WORLD REACTIONS TO IRAN-CONTRA HEARINGS: EUROPE, CHINA, JAPAN. Ollie who? Japan is preoccupied with its own scandal

``Have you ever heard of a man called North?'' the Japanese yuppie was asked. ``Oh, sure,'' he replied, ``Andy North is a professional golfer.''

And Oliver North? Sorry, no, he didn't know the name.

Compared to the days of Watergate, the US Congress's Iran-contra hearings not getting much exposure in the news media here. This is partly because journalists and officials are preoccupied with Japan's own scandal - the Toshiba affair, in which a subsidiary of one of the country's industrial giants confessed to having supplied Moscow the technology to make its submarines disquietingly quiet.

An equally important reason for the low-key coverage is that, for the Japanese, the Iran-contra hearings simply lack the drama of Watergate. Many Japanese viewed Watergate as an example of a media David confronting a White House Goliath. But they find the whole Iran arms-for-hostages deal confusing.

``Of course some of us are concerned,'' a newspaper editor says. ``We worry whether this whole affair will reduce the Reagan administration's ability to conduct a confident, coherent foreign policy at a crucial time in East-West relations. But that kind of concern doesn't touch the general public.''

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...