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Yoshi Hattori Verdict

June 04, 1993

In response to "Jury Acquits Man Who Shot Japanese Youth," May 24:

Would anyone in this country be satisfied if his son or daughter were shot and killed in the manner of 16-year-old Yoshi Hattori? The verdict handed down by a jury in Baton Rouge, La., and the apparent justification for this killing should outrage us all. Here was a Japanese exchange student who was seeking to understand and learn about America by living in this country and even being a part of the Halloween tradition. His innocent mistake of going to the wrong house was a deadly mistake.

The incident does more than highlight the sad state of our society, especially when you learn that those attending the trial actually cheered when the verdict was announced. We can only wonder why they felt that this young man's life could be taken away so that the verdict was their victory. The world and particularly the people of Japan and certainly young Hattori learned about a violent America. We should all be saddened and share the grief of his family and friends.

When will the violence end? Would the verdict have been different if this were not a Japanese exchange student, a foreigner? It is incidents like this that paint the picture around the world of an ugly image of America.

HIROSHI KAWABE, President

Japanese Chamber of Commerce

of Southern California

* I have not seen any editorial denouncing the petition-signing Japanese for telling America to decrease our civil liberties. If 1.5 million Saudis and Iranians signed petitions demanding that the U.S. government forbid American women from voting, driving or appearing in public without a veil, how many Americans would sign the same petition and how would the press react?

WILLIAM E. POOLE JR.

Newbury Park

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