Education: Nakasone's World-Class Blunder

Japan's leader stirs a tempest by linking race to intellect

The word for it in Japanese is ayamachi, diplomatic argot for a grave mistake, even a sin. Last week none other than Yasuhiro Nakasone, Prime Minister of Japan, committed a world-class ayamachi when he told a meeting of his Liberal Democratic Party, "So high is the level of education in our country that Japan's is an intelligent society. Our average score is much higher than those of countries like the U.S. There are many blacks, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans in America. In consequence the average score over there is exceedingly low."

At first few people in Japan's remarkably closed and monolithic...

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