- The Washington Times - Friday, December 10, 2004

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Japan Times

What a difficult life it has been

TOKYO — Charles Jenkins on Tuesday arrived in Sado, Niigata prefecture, with his wife Hitomi Soga, a former abductee to North Korea, and their two daughters, after serving a short sentence for desertion from the U.S. Army. Sado is Mrs. Jenkins’ hometown. Procedures for Mr. Jenkins’ dishonorable discharge from the military are expected to be completed soon, after which he will be free at last.

So far fate has been very unkind to the four of them. We sincerely hope that from now on, they will be able to lead happy lives without being restrained by anyone. For this purpose, the prefectural and municipal authorities should do their utmost to help Mr. Jenkins find a job locally, because that is what he says he wants to do, and to assist the daughters in their university studies. …

Now that the case of Mr. Jenkins, which had been a sensitive issue between the Japanese and U.S. governments, has been settled, full efforts must be made to uncover the truth about 10 other missing Japanese abductees, including Mrs. Jenkins’ mother, who North Korea says never entered the country. Mrs. Jenkins once commented, “What a difficult life it has been.”

Johannesburg Star

15,857 children raped

JOHANNESBURG — The latest figures from the Safety and Security Ministry show that between April 1, 2003, and March 31 this year, a total of 15,857 children were reported to have been raped in South Africa. That is 43 a day, or virtually one every half-hour or so. This shocking statistic forces our thoughts in two distinct directions.

The first deals with the low number of reported cases brought to court — hardly 60 percent — and the pathetic number of convictions achieved: around 22 percent. Clearly, a great deal needs to be done inside the criminal justice system to improve these percentages. The bottom line is: too many men are getting away with behavior that must be abhorrent to all self-respecting South Africans.

The second direction concerns the causes of the sexual abuse of babies, small children and young teenagers. Why do men do it? It’s bad enough forcing unwanted attentions and violence on grown women — and South Africa is rife with that — but why on children?

There are several matters that we might profitably consider.

Is the myth of sex with a virgin as antidote to HIV/AIDS taking a firmer hold now that the ravages of our epidemic are becoming more visible?

We are leading the continent with our work on an effective vaccine. Pressure groups have won the battle to make antiretroviral treatments available to all. Now, what can we do to break the power of this terrible myth?

Toronto Star

Canada and missile defense

TORONTO — Like a laser-guided interceptor rocket, the United States’ missile defense program is zeroing in on Prime Minister Paul Martin’s wobbly minority government. Mr. Martin can run, but he’s running out of places to hide.

And why should he? U.S. President Bush may have touched off a firestorm of controversy last week by expressing the “hope” that Canada will sign on to missile defense. But Mr. Martin has already made the decision that matters. There is no turning back.

In August, Mr. Martin agreed the Canadian military — through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) — will feed data on incoming missiles to the U.S. Northern Command, which will control 40 planned interceptor rockets based in Alaska, California and at sea. The first of those rockets are installed and will soon be declared operational. Any pretense that Ottawa is still “considering” joining will then be exposed as a sham. Does Mr. Martin seriously envisage telling Canadians that our troops will help guide rockets that we oppose to their targets?

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