Your report on how Japan is trying to become a global trendsetter [Aug. 11] started out on the right track by identifying the surface reasons behind Japan's economic woes. But it quickly went off into left field when it suggested that Japan is becoming a leader in all things cool. The products of pop culture will not result in any significant economic benefit to Japan. They will be cute little domestic things with extremely limited international appeal and acceptance. Until Japan can undertake fundamental political and industrial reforms, it will continue to languish in the doldrums. Change, not gimmicks and pop culture, is Japan's future. People who start their own businesses will be the leaders of tomorrow. So what's right with Japan? Keep looking because it hasn't popped up yet.
Your article "Tomorrowland" described building tycoon Minoru Mori's self-appointed mission to improve Tokyo's "terrible" quality of life and make the city more livable. Mori deserves credit because he's looking to cut commuting times from three hours to a few minutes—for a select group of people, that is, those who can afford to pay. The monthly rents for bigger units at Mori's Roppongi Hills complex are higher than $8,500. That only a minuscule percentage of Tokyo's residents can afford this luxury housing is perhaps a minor detail to Mori.
Re Alex Perry's report on the tensions between India's Hindus and Muslims [Aug. 11]: I would note that India's majority Hindus and the government are not entirely responsible for the Muslims' troubles. Various Muslim organizations receive funding from abroad to promote segregation, fundamentalism and terrorist activities. The Muslim hinterlands have been flash points for communal clashes. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, unpublicized atrocities are meted out by Muslims on minority Hindus. And there is always the example of Kashmir to heighten the ire of those who are predisposed to zealotry. Ever since the creation of an independent India and separate Pakistan, lives have been lost in the name of the two religions.
Krishna Prasad Paudel
The so-called rise in Hindu fundamentalism is a natural reaction to an alarming growth of Islamic puritanism that propagates violence in the name of religion. Your story gave a negative image of Hindus, not an unbiased assessment of the complex religio-political scenario in India.
There is no divide in India among the common people, among neighbors, in businesses, in jobs, in education and in day-to-day life between Hindus and Muslims. The Muslim fundamentalists and their forces, however, are trying to segregate the Muslim masses. The reactions of some Hindus may be the result of intolerance of Muslim separatism. The relationship between Hindus and Muslims in India has no doubt been affected over the years because of certain incidents, but to call it hatred is an exaggeration.
Muslims continue to prefer education in madrasahs, schools that emphasize Islamic orientation. They do not inculcate national values. A direct impact of undereducation is poverty among the majority of these people. It is therefore incumbent upon all Muslims to enter the mainstream and overcome their biases. This would trigger better employment opportunities. Sadly, Indian society is getting more polarized each day.
Ullal V. Nayak
The Killing of Uday
"Hot on Saddam's Trail" described in graphic detail the military's hunt for Saddam Hussein and the killing of his two sons [Aug. 11]. I was horrified by the description of the death of Uday Hussein, which said a soldier "pumped two bullets into Uday's mouth, to ensure his death." This was sickening. I reject the cold-blooded stalking and killing of any human being cornered like an animal, even a murderous dictator and his family. This was an extreme example of American savagery and violence. Why weren't Uday and Qusay brought to trial for their crimes?
I was surprised that the troops who entered the house in Mosul and found Uday still alive summarily finished him off and also killed Qusay's son, 14. It is understandable that the two brothers would never have surrendered to the U.S. troops, but why kill Uday and Qusay's son when they were still alive? I'm sure most of the Iraqi people felt cheated that the brothers were not captured alive and brought to trial. Just think what Uday could have told them.
Rina van Coller
Pretoria, South Africa
Are we to understand that Uday, a potential source of immense amounts of valuable information, could have been captured alive but instead was extrajudicially executed? This is a story that deserves more attention.
Santa Fe, U.S.
Out of Control
Your report on Iraqi resistance to the occupying forces described the shooting of a boy, 13, by U.S. soldiers who fired on a car from a distance of 140 meters [Aug. 11]. How well trained are the American soldiers in Iraq? Surely this death could only be the result of a lack of discipline in dealing with crowds. There is no simple answer to the question of how this happened, but a policy of "shoot first and ask questions later" will never solve the problems in Iraq. One cannot take action against war criminals by committing war crimes. However hard it is, soldiers must act at all times with the highest regard for the people around them.
Letchworth Garden City, England
Asian Wanderlust Lives!
Jamie James' article on concerns about the decline in long-haul travel to Asia as Westerners take holidays closer to home provided an intriguing glimpse into the key problems facing the travel industry today [Aug. 11]. One cannot, however, write off the promising future of long-distance travel to Asia. Of the 21 major Asian-destination countries, 15 experienced increased arrivals in 2002 compared with 2000. It is worth using 2000 as a benchmark, because it was a record year for tourism to and within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the last year relatively free of tourism-targeted terrorist attacks and other negative influences on our industry. Over the past 20 years, the global travel industry has faced events and catastrophes ranging from terrorism and disease to economic doldrums and political unrest. With each passing adversity, the industry has recovered and grown wiser and stronger. Thanks to the accessibility of international travel, wanderlust no longer resides only in the mind of the potential traveler to Asia. Concerted efforts by airlines, travel agents and tourism organizations will be the key to maintaining a vibrant Asian travel industry.
Peter de Jong
Pacific Asia Travel Association
What's in a Name?
TIME reported that in upcoming international trade talks, dozens of generic food names, such as Parmesan cheese and basmati rice, may be restricted to their regions of origin [Aug. 18]. Say it isn't so! What about French fries, Spanish omelets, Bermuda onions, Danish pastry and Belgian waffles? Will hamburgers come only from Hamburg? And frankfurters only from Frankfurt? And what will become of Mom's apple pie?
Rishon Letziyon, Israel
An In-credible President
Those pernicious 16 words in the State of the Union speech [July 21] will not topple the Bush presidency because the cumulative case for ousting Saddam was cogent, obvious and urgent. Hair-splitting arguments over such a trivial statement do not warrant this much hand wringing.
Apparently it was worse for a president to lie to the American people about having sex with an intern than it was for a President to lie to the American people by justifying a war on the basis of forged documents about uranium purchases. One lie led to impeachment. But I am afraid the other lie will lead to re-election.
There is little justification for the partisan debate over whether there was sufficient evidence to go to war with Iraq. The preemptive strike was clearly in the U.S.'s national interest. It was an aggressive warning to terrorist-sponsoring states—especially Iran, Syria and North Korea—that there will be severe consequences for their dangerous behavior. The U.S. also provided enhanced protection to Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, and sent a strong message to Syria and the Palestinians that there is no alternative to peace. The U.S. assured itself of a favorable position on the avail-ability of Middle East oil and freed the Iraqi people from a tyrant.
Santa Ana, U.S.
The U.S. did not go to war with Iraq solely because of Saddam's possible attempts to purchase uranium. The U.S. argued that Saddam's government possessed a variety of weapons of mass destruction and had a history of aggression. Iraq's war against Iran, the occupation of Kuwait and missile attacks on Israel during the first Gulf War showed that Saddam's Iraq was a danger.
New York City
Bush's misstatement that Iraq attempted to purchase uranium was yet another example of a "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality.
Spreading the Good News
It appears that evangelical Christian missionaries have just one goal: to convert as many Muslims as possible [June 30]. But why do Christians need to go as far as Asia, Africa or the Middle East when there are so many New Age religions in America that do not conform to the teachings of Jesus? Wouldn't it make more sense for missionaries to give the "good news" to people in their own countries before preaching to Muslims, who have a lot in common with Christians?
Usman S. Bello
Antiproselytizing laws, torture for converting to Christianity, murder of missionaries, secret converts hiding their freely chosen beliefs for fear of state-approved reprisals: how do all these things line up with fundamental human rights? One must ask why the unfettered liberties that made the 9/11 attacks possible were not available to the attackers in their native lands. The battle between faith and fear continues to rage, but the West must watch out for more whirlwinds from the East.
Of Hope and Glory
I was, frankly, shocked by Richard Schickel's backhanded tribute to the legendary Bob Hope [ESSAY, Aug. 11]. Schickel said, "There was no depth to Hope." But the comedian provided millions of us with happiness, laughter and respite from rationing, poverty and rebuilding during the difficult period following World War II. The man was a comic genius, and although he had the luxury of scriptwriters, he was always quick-fire with his own natural wit. When his family asked whether he would prefer burial or cremation, his response was, "Surprise me." Hope passionately supported the U.S. all his life, even though he was British born. His dedication to entertaining the troops in the field was legendary. Hope was the 20th century's comic icon.
To Set the Record Straight
• Our story "What's Right With Japan?" [Aug. 11] featured photographs of the Honey-Pop chair, which we incorrectly stated were courtesy of Tokujin Yoshioka Design. Pictures of the chair were provided courtesy of Nacasá & Partners Inc.
• In the article "Playing in Place" we mistakenly said that interior designer Masamichi Katayama produced 15 Bape shops in Tokyo, Osaka and London. Katayama has designed 27 Bape-related shops in the three cities plus others. We regret the errors.