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In Asia Crisis, Don't Forget Ecology

I read your editorial "Getting Japan Rolling" (March 4) and thought about the implications. You write, "More fuel, in the form of spending and tax measures, is needed" to get Japan's economy heated up again.

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A staple in the repertory of devices to heat up the economy is public works spending. While not all publicly financed construction projects are bad, some are not only unneeded, but highly detrimental. You might try living here in the Japanese countryside and watch as it recedes day by day under the relentless pressure of make-work construction projects.

I will readily admit that the mountain village where I live needs a sewage system - now finally under construction - to help keep the river clean. But we most decidedly do not need the construction companies that are destroying forest and habitat for the useless road in the mountains above us, nor do we need the dam that is planned for our river. Japan did not need the project that recently ruined the Isahaya Bay tidal flat, and it doesn't need any more roads.

When Americans call on Japan to heat up its economy, they should keep in mind that they are indirectly demanding more such unnecessary and destructive projects. Something must be done to keep Asia's economy from going down the tubes, but it's time economists and politicians get together and come up with some fresh ideas. Economy and ecology shouldn't be enemies.

Rick Davis

Ashigawa, Japan


Japan Environment Monitor

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No one is above the law

It is an apparent oversight, or possibly chosen ignorance, that two writers in the letters to the editor "Why the Public Ignores Washington" (March 2) totally ignore the real issue at hand.

The issue is not that President Clinton may have had an affair with Monica Lewinsky; presidents in the past have done the same thing. The issue is the possibility that the president asked Ms. Lewinsky to lie, and that he possibly had his friend Vernon Jordan influence-peddle as part of a perjury/ bribe agreement with Lewinsky. If true, it is a classic "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" arrangement. No matter what anyone says, that is perjury and conspiracy, and both are illegal. No one is above the law, especially the president. If he did ask Lewinsky to perjure her testimony and got her a job in return, he is guilty and should be prosecuted. Public opinion does not matter when it comes to the law.

Presten Witherspoon

Cedar Hill, Texas

Morals of our leaders

Godfrey Sperling's column "If Clinton is Repeating His Past, I'm Disappointed" (March 3) certainly rang true with me. I also was convinced by Mrs. Clinton's nodding acceptance in the "60 Minutes" interview that "problems" of the past were over and resolved between them.

It was enough to convince me to vote for the first time for a Democrat for president. Maybe it was just naivet on my part before learning what other presidential wives have been willing to put up with just to be in the circle of power.

If the allegations are found to be true, it's more than just disappointing. It's heartbreaking and alarming to see the nation's acceptance of infidelity taken so lightly just because most of us are doing well economically at the moment.

As a wife and mother, to me Mr. Clinton's wedding vows are more sacred than the oath of office that he took as president. As the founder of this newspaper wrote, "Chastity is the cement of civilization and progress." To let this drag out in years of denial would be a betrayal of both his family and this country.

Barbara Van Tassel

Gaines, Mich.

Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed to

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