Japanese leaders and the nuclear question

The Nov. 6 article by Bennett Richardson, "Nuclear question still nags at Japan," refers to "arguments over Japan's nuclear ambitions." It states, "Recent comments echo the opinions of former Prime Minister Nakasone and current opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa. A poll in 2003 showed that almost 1 in 5 lawmakers thought Japan should consider nuclear weapons capability if warranted by the regional political climate."

The article would seem to imply that Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa has made comments advocating the possession of nuclear weapons by Japan. This is a totally erroneous perception. Mr. Ozawa has never on any occasion called for Japan to possess nuclear weapons. On the contrary, Ozawa has repeatedly made remarks opposing such a move, most recently in the Diet debate with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 8 when he clearly stated that "Nuclear armament would definitely not be to Japan's advantage, neither politically nor militarily."
Tenzo Okumura
Deputy chair, administration department, Democratic Party of Japan Member, House of Representatives of Japan

Bennett Richardson responds: While Mr. Ozawa has not directly called for Japan to possess nuclear weapons, he sparked considerable debate in April 2002, when, as leader of the Liberal Party, which ultimately joined the DPJ, he claimed that Japan could produce "thousands of nuclear warheads." Ozawa stated that "if [China] gets too inflated, Japanese people will get hysterical. It would be so easy for us to produce nuclear warheads - we have plutonium at nuclear power plants in Japan, enough to make several thousand such warheads.... [I]f we get serious, we will never be beaten in terms of military power."

Adults should be in charge of their actions

Regarding Eric E. Sterling's thoughtful Nov. 15 Opinion piece, "Equal drug crimes need equal jail times": How about no jail time for crimes that should not be crimes?

In a drug transaction, there are willing buyers and willing sellers. Presumably, both will walk away happy unless one or both are arrested. Our US government cannot protect adult citizens from themselves, and our government shouldn't attempt to do so.

A so-called free country should be a truly free country – with adult citizens taking responsibility for their own behavior, whether it is wise or foolish.
Kirk Muse
Mesa, Ariz.

A snowy owl's ability to inspire

I enjoyed the Nov. 6 article, "There's much to learn from an owl," about the great horned owl in Alaska. I saw a snowy white owl here in Seattle. I have lived in the Seattle area since 1987 and had never seen an owl, let alone did I think I would see a snowy white owl one day. I saw it four or five times.

This beautiful bird was perched several times in the rafters of a bridge. I am not a bird-watcher and wouldn't have even noticed it, but the sound of it drew my attention. I had never heard that sound before, and it gave me chills. I got out the binoculars we have on our boat for a closer view.

I kept watching until the owl turned its head toward me, and its eyes were captivating. It was one of the neatest experiences I've had in my life.

I do not go to church, and I'm not religious, but this was really inspiring. The owl was like a messenger from the heavens, and I long for it to return.
Karlie Johnson

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