A retraction notice (for an article using phrases "identical or similar" to those found in another source) that appeared in the print edition of the paper was never published in the web edition and the offending article was removed from the online archive without any explanation.
This is a copy of the letter I sent to the editor:
"I was startled by the book review retraction notice that appeared in the Japan Times on December 2, 2012. Even more startling was the fact that the retraction didn’t make it to the paper’s web edition and any trace of the offending article itself seems to have been “disappeared” from the online digital archive. If removing the article was the only option, the retraction notice should have at the very least been posted online at the same url. When you’re searching for the truth, transparency trumps the veil of secrecy every time.
Since all mention of the article has been deleted, we don’t know its author and the blank space in its place only casts a shadow of suspicion over everyone who writes for the paper. Still I value all the writing that has been featured on these pages in the past and hope that whatever transgressions occurred can be forgiven. In fact the Society of Professional Journalists' Scott Leadingham has laid out a seven step program for doing just that in a recent Poynter.org article entitled “Why journalism should rehabilitate, not excommunicate, fabulists and plagiarists.”
Whoever said “to err is human” probably meant everyone, including journalists (the truth is they're human too). We all make mistakes but hopefully we can reflect on them and learn from the past. Erasing them from the record, as the Japan Times has done here, makes learning those lessons impossible."