TOKYO —Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Yukihisa Fujita faced bitter criticism in a Washington Post editorial this week for what the major U.S. daily described as a ‘‘bizarre, half-baked and intellectually bogus’’ conspiracy theory over the Sept 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.
In its Monday editorial, the newspaper presented Fujita’s views on the terror attacks, including his argument that some hijackers remain alive and that ‘‘shadowy forces’’ with advance knowledge of the plot profited from stock trading.
Arguing that his views ‘‘seem to reflect a strain of anti-American thought that runs through the DPJ and the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama,’’ the newspaper said the Japan-U.S. relationship ‘‘will be severely tested’’ if Hatoyama tolerates such ‘‘reckless and fact-averse’’ elements.
The Washington Post also said Hatoyama’s actions and those of the DPJ-led government raise questions about his commitment that ‘‘Japan’s alliance with the United States remains the cornerstone of its security.’‘
Fujita, director general of the DPJ’s International Department, quickly issued a statement in which he said, ‘‘At no point did I draw the conclusion that 9/11 was a conspiracy,’’ while Hatoyama told reporters Tuesday that the views were those of an individual lawmaker and not those of the party, let alone the government.
In the English statement issued Tuesday, Fujita, who was described by The Washington Post as ‘‘an influential member’’ of the DPJ, complained, ‘‘I find it totally regrettable that this kind of biased article should be published in the Washington Post,’’ noting that there were some factual errors in the piece including his title.
The 59-year-old lawmaker also said he had given an interview to the newspaper believing it would focus on immigration issues and his comments on the Sept 11 attacks were part of ‘‘an informal chat’’ separate from the interview.
My question about the Washington Post article are why now? Yuki Fujita has been saying these things a few years now with no recognition from the mainstream US press. So, why now? Coupled with the media’s treatment of the recent Pentagon shooter (calling him a 9/11 conspiracy theorist within an hour or so of the story breaking and painting all truth-seekers as potential terrorists), this is suspicious. Why now? Why trick Fujita with an interview you never print, just to catch him saying stuff he’s already said publicly? Why no by-line on this op-ed? Who wrote it?