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Murakami 'regrets' book portrayal of Japan town

Published on Feb 8, 2014 12:44 AM

TOKYO (AFP) - Best-selling novelist Haruki Murakami expressed regret Friday over his portrayal of a small Japanese town in a new story, after a passage suggesting residents habitually throw cigarettes from car windows left locals fuming.

The remote town of Nakatonbetsu on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido said Wednesday that it wanted an explanation from the publisher over how it allowed such a description to pass through an editor's desk.

The offending passage appeared in the new 24-page novella, entitled "Drive my car - men without women", which was published in the December edition of the long established monthly magazine "Bungeishunju".

"I love the land of Hokkaido and have visited there a number of times... I have written the novel this time strictly with a sense of intimacy for it," Mr Murakami said in a statement released by the magazine. "I find it quite regrettable and unfortunate that it has caused people living there to feel unpleasant," he said.

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