Sankei’s double standards
Japan’s Sankei Shimbun apologized for carrying an advertisement for a book that claims the Holocaust was a fabrication after a Jewish rights group protested. In addition to publishing an apology, the daily also delivered a letter of apology to the U.S. Jewish rights organization under the name of the newspaper’s president.
On Nov. 26, Sankei carried a full-page advertisement titled “Internet Journalist Investigating the Scheme of the Jewish Dictatorship State of the United States” in an edition circulated in the Tokai-Hokuriku region. It then contained a text written by blogger Richard Koshimizu and his three anti-Semitic books. He argues that the Holocaust was a “myth,” and that the 2011 earthquake and tsunami had been deliberately set off by the U.S. military. In addition to these absurd claims, he insists that Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and Hitler were Jews.
Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a rabbi, sent a letter of protest on Dec. 4. “The Simon Wiesenthal Center protests in the strongest terms possible Sankei Shimbun’s sellout of its journalistic responsibilities to the Truth for a few yen. By providing space in your newspaper for such libelous and baseless accusations, your newspaper helps validate hatred and anti-Semitism,” he wrote.
Then, the public statement by Takamitsu Kumasaka, president of the conservative newspaper, was published on Dec. 6.
Sankei’s Washington bureau chief also visited Cooper and delivered the letter of apology in person. “It is extremely regrettable that such disreputable content was published and was delivered to our readers. I deeply apologize to our readers and to every member of the Jewish community,” it said.
Sankei’s apology is quite different from how it responds to reports about Korea. The newspaper has made inflammatory claims such as “tale-diplomacy is a national trait” and “comfort women are anti-Japanese tools even after death.” And these claims were published not in an advertisement but in their articles.
Sankei made a courteous apology to the Jewish rights group, but it does not care about insulting Koreans. In the United States, the Jewish community has a powerful influence on politics, the economy, media and culture. Sankei is so submissive to the powerful Jewish community but is so cruel in hurting its neighbor with a tragic history. What does Japan have to gain by Sankei’s beating of Korea? Deriding Korea does not make Japan any greater. A newspaper that rudely claims “it is questionable whether reporting on the relationship of a single president is slander” does not make Japan great. Media with consistent standards and dignity make a country great.
*The author is the Washington correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo. JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 10, Page 33
by CHAE BYUNG-GUN