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This Japanese Party Is No Fringe Outfit (Int'l Edition)

International -- Readers Report

This Japanese Party Is No Fringe Outfit (int'l edition)

I wish to protest the description of the New Komeito Party as a "fringe organization" ("Japan: With reform crumbling, Obuchi may take a fall," International Outlook, Jan. 31). Our primarily centrist party was established in 1964 and has had many representatives elected to the Diet since 1968. We currently are the third-largest party, with 66 seats. We are particularly well regarded by the electorate for our commitment to social welfare. Komeito played an important role in resuming diplomatic relations with China.

Our party has upheld pacifism and freedom of religion. Moreover, our representatives have been uninvolved, for the most part, in the scandals that for decades have plagued other parties. While the adjectives "centrist" or "swing" or even "controversial" may appropriately describe New Komeito, "fringe" most certainly does not.

Otohiko Endo, Chairman

Public Relations Committee

New Komeito

TokyoReturn to top

What Singapore Telecom Is Doing Right (int'l edition)

Thank you for "If you can't beat 'em..." (Asian Business, Feb. 7). A few inaccuracies need to be pointed out:

1) It is not true that SingTel failed to expand overseas. We have invested $2.4 billion in 62 telecommunications-related ventures in 20 countries around the world. Overseas investments make up 15% of pretax profit.

2) We did not write off "hundreds of millions of dollars on an investment in Indonesia when the rupiah tanked in 1998." Our investment in PT Bukaka SingTel International (BSI) was less than $50 million, which we wrote off in the financial year ended Mar. 31, 1998, for financial prudence.

3) SingTel has not been "outmaneuvered by upstarts Pacific Internet and Cyberway." Despite having faced competition in the Internet business since 1995, SingNet, the company's Internet service provider arm, continues to be the market leader, with 250,000 customers, which is more than half the market share for paid Internet users.

Lim Seng Jim

Corporate Communications Manger

Singapore Telecom Ltd.

SingaporeReturn to top

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