It's a completely unsolved mystery. What makes it even more mysterious is the way The Japan Times handles, or doesn't handle it. Buried deep down in the dark recesses of the paper's archived digital records is an article by columnist Philip Brasor (Media Mix: Questions Abound, 911 conspiracies theories enthrall Japanese audiences) in which he takes aim at Japanese media outlets serving up 911 conspiracy theories as gospel truths. In the September 19, 2004 column Brasor wrote:
"No one expects anything else from prime-time commercial TV, but these theories have also been taken up by more earnest media. In the Sept. 10 issue of Shukan Kinyobi, one of Japan's more serious muckraking journals, peace activist Yumi Sakura writes about a DVD called "In Plane Site" (sic), which was put together by American radio personality Dave vonKleist."
The odd thing is that Yumi Sakura didn't write any such article, if she in fact exists at all. In my letter to the editor (attached here), that was published on October 17, 2004, I note that the author of the Shukan Kinyobi article is really Yumi Kikuchi. So is that letter an admission of the error? I don’t know since the question still remains. Who is Yumi Sakura? If she does exist, does she know that her name has been splattered across the pages of the Japan Times with less-than-flattering prose?
While The Japan Times did publish my letter pointing out the identification error, the digital version of the errant article has never been corrected and the letter doesn't seem to be posted on the website. Unless one knew better, he or she would never be able to put two and two together and figure out the identity of the author in question. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist myself, the Japan Times' actions, or lack of, in patching over this mistake sounds kind of like a mere cover up job to me.
Did Brasor really have to add "sic" after the title of the DVD he cites in the article? Screwy or not, it is the actual name of the film and it's obviously a play on words, too bad the Japan Times couldn't see that too. It's right there in plain sight.
Attached are a copy of my letter to the editor of the Japan Times and a snippet from the cover of the September 10 issue of Shukan Kinyobi, bearing the author's name (written phonetically in Japanese hiragana characters).
The Japan Times has finally updated its story to correctly identify the Shukan Kinyobi writer as Yumi Kikuchi. It's laudable that the paper went so far back in time to correct this story. As a reference, in most cases the New York Times will only correct mistakes that are a year old (with some notable exceptions). Unlike the standard practice at the New York Times and many other papers however, the Japan Times has failed to "regret the error" and note the correction somewhere in the vicinity of the article. Now the question is, "Who was Yumi Sakura?"