A major Japanese newspaper issued a public apology for running an advertisement that promoted the works of a known anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist.
“It is extremely regrettable that such disreputable content was published and was delivered to our readers,” said Takamitsu Kumasaka, president of the conservative-leaning Sankei Shimbun in a public statement published in the paper. “I deeply apologize to our readers and to every member of the Jewish community.”
Kumasaka’s apology was elicited by a strong letter of protest from Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, over the original printing of the ads.
“Friday, they [Sankei Shimbun] sent their Washington bureau chief to hand-deliver a letter of apology to us,” Rabbi Cooper told Hamodia. “They said that they were very sorry and admitted that, against their usual policy, no one in their office had looked at the ad ahead of time.”
The letter fully condemned any attempts to deny the Holocaust and pledged to do everything to prevent any such incident from recurring.
Rabbi Cooper said that the issue had been brought to his attention by a contact living in Japan. Despite the small size of the Jewish community there, the subject is of concern since Japan has strong political and intellectual influence in Asia.
“We wrote it in very strong terms,” said Rabbi Cooper of his letter, which contained language such as “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.”
“We were particularly concerned that a mainstream paper should print every type of slur against Jews imaginable. Not every reader sees at the top of the page that it’s a paid advertisement,” he said in the interview.
The passages in question advertise three books by Richard Koshimizu, a self-proclaimed journalist, whose works posit that the Holocaust was a myth and that the 2011 Tohoku earthquake was set off by the U.S. military. The promotion also quoted generously from the works, with lines such as “Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and Hitler were Jews. The Second World War was a war fought with the prior agreement of establishing Israel.”
Rabbi Cooper said that he was very pleased with Kumasaka’s gesture and said that he hoped to meet with him personally on a planned trip to Japan in February.