Racism Not to Blame

In a letter published Feb. 26, “Racism in Investment,” Shigeo Yuge stated, “if one peels away all the furor and arguments about Japanese trade and investment, one will find racism at the core.” As a white American who lived in Japan more than six years and worked at Japanese schools or companies during that time, I would like to make two comments regarding that assertion.

First, Japan is no stranger to the ranks of racist nations. The remarks by the former Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone concerning his belief that blacks and Latinos in the United States possess substandard intellects is but one example of racism in Japan.

Second, the fact that Americans do not decry British and Dutch investment in the U.S. is not because those two nations are populated mainly by whites. Rather, it is because the markets in those two countries are relatively open to our participation. The reason Americans criticize Japanese investment in the U.S. is due not to U.S. racism but to Japan’s closed markets.

I deplore any racism Japanese-Americans may experience, but let’s not confuse that with the real reason many thoughtful Americans oppose Japanese investment in this country.


San Luis Obispo