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JAPAN: Wages of Sinlessness

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TIME

Young (36) Tokyo District Court Judge Yoshitada Yamaguchi was an honest man. When his wife pleaded with him to sell some clothes and family possessions to buy food on the black market, he replied: “How can one who judges others do any black marketing?” When his father sent extra food from Kyushu island, he turned it all over to his family. He and his wife subsisted, precariously, on thin soup and corn meal gruel. Their food rations went to their two young sons.

By last spring Yamaguchi was suffering from extreme malnutrition. Last August he collapsed from tuberculosis. In his diary the dying judge wrote: “The Food Control Law is a bad law, but as long as it is law the people must obey it. … There are judges I know who buy on the black market pretending that their hands are clean. When I consider that I am alone in marching on death with a clean slate, I forget all my troubles and sorrows.” Last month he died.

His widow’s mournful comment: “It is horrible these days to be married to an honest man.”

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