- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2003

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:


Cities in the dark

STAVANGER, Norway — It’s almost enough to make one believe it was more than coincidental. Over the weekend, Italy; last week Sweden and Denmark; in late August London; in mid-August large parts of the United States and Canada.

Millions without electricity.

So far, nothing has indicated that the power failures were due to sabotage or terrorism, but they certainly show how vulnerable our modern society is. And none of the power failures occurred under extreme weather. Local bad weather is something nationwide electricity networks have to be able to stand.

Is privatization compromising security? Is the power network out of date? Are better emergency solutions needed? The questions are many, and the answers must be found.

Asahi Shimbun

Japan’s negative legacy

TOKYO — With the passing of more than half a century since Japan’s defeat in World War II, our nation’s collective memory of that war is fading. We are even inclined to forget the enormity of the sacrifices that have been required to achieve our present state of peace.

The past, however, sometimes leaps across time to catch up with us. Indeed, we are now facing one of those situations. We are being asked to recall that munitions and chemical weapons abandoned by the former Imperial Japanese Army in northern China and elsewhere during World War II are still killing people or ruining their health.

On Monday, the government was found guilty in a Tokyo District Court of neglecting to take preventive measures in a damage suit brought by 13 victims and bereaved relatives of victims of such disasters. The government was ordered to pay nearly 200 million yen ($1.8 million) in damages.

The presiding judge ruled that those responsible for abandoning chemical weapons and explosive shells are responsible for knowingly exposing people to physical danger.

The government of Japan has always insisted that the 1972 joint Japan-China statement absolved Japan of any further claims from Chinese for wartime restitution.

But the court dismissed that position outright. The judge said the issue was not a question of what Japan did during the war, but rather the fact that Japan has never bothered to take action to remove the danger, even since relations with China have been normalized. Such negligence is in itself unlawful, the judge ruled.

While the government of Japan indeed could not have gone in and removed the weapons directly, the country could easily have asked the government of China for assistance in investigating and recovering the weapons, and this might have at least prevented any more damage.

Monday’s ruling followed such a line of reasoning. We feel that is … reasonable. … The government should not even think of trying to play some legal game by appealing the ruling. We insist that the government abide by the plaintiffs’ plea for justice in earnest, and close the case in line with the terms of the court’s ruling.


France’s foreign minister

GOTEBORG, Sweden — In a situation where the United Nations is shortly expected to put forward a new proposal on Iraq in the Security Council, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is doing what he does best — talking and putting up smoke screens.

But Mr. de Villepin makes a realistic judgment when he opposes the U.S. and Israeli boycott of Yasser Arafat. This man retains his position with legitimate authority from the Palestinians.

The tragedy is that Israel’s government, through their heedless decision to “eliminate” Mr. Arafat, by deportation or something worse, has made the Palestinian veteran’s political star shine brighter than on many a bad day.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide