Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

Japan-US alliance has come a long way

Regarding Alexandra Starr's Oct. 30 Opinion "Beware a more muscular Japan": Rather than view Washington's relationship with Tokyo as a competition full of dire threats to US interests, Ms. Starr should consider the enduring strength of a security alliance that has existed for more than half a century. Japan's commitment on Iraq - not to mention Tokyo's heavy lifting on North Korea, which Starr fails to mention - are the results of a strong partnership and a pragmatic approach to political and economic security by the Koizumi government.

Leadership from Japan is a welcome development in a region challenged by a rapidly growing China and facing the real threats of a nuclear Pyongyang. On the economic front, events on the ground would seem to dictate patience over fear. In the past six weeks alone, the yen has appreciated by 7 percent against the dollar.

More important, at Washington's behest, Japan has engaged in a broad market reform that promises to gradually open sectors such as telecommunications and financial services to competitive US firms and stabilizing investment flows. The US private sector clearly thinks Japan is headed in the right direction: In the past two months, US equity firms have acquired more than $3 billion in Japanese assets, and are pushing reform from the inside. Starr would do better not to draw upon fearsome historical images of a militant Japan, and give credit instead both to the patient gains of US diplomacy and to Japan's current leaders.Eric Shimp Washington

Director accountability at corporations

Your Oct. 31 editorial "Shareholder Power" does not go to the heart of the issue. The proposed rule implies that public confidence in the securities markets can be restored only by trusting institutional investors to be watchdogs of boards of directors. Public confidence will be restored, however, only when individual shareholders can use the shareholder-proposal procedure to nominate director candidates, and thus function as their own watchdogs by acting, when necessary, to seek accountability at the more than 9,000 corporations that have publicly traded securities. …

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