Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Send Out the Clown

To convince the Japanese not to invest in France:

TOKYO, April 17, 2006 (AFP) - A Japanese firm that dropped plans to build another factory in France after a lawmaker's hunger strike Monday assailed his protest as an "absurdity" that went against economic freedom.

Jean Lassalle took nothing but water, salt and vitamins for five weeks until Friday when the French government reached an accord with Osaka-based Toyo Aluminium K.K. to maintain a plant in his constituency.

"We believe that MP Jean Lassalle's hunger strike, which rested on his own assumptions based on a misunderstanding, was an absurdity that greatly harmed freedom of enterprise," Toyo said in a statement to AFP.

Lassalle, a former shepherd from the Pyrenées mountains, feared Toyo planned to close its car paint plant that employs 150 people in his town of Accous due to its plans to build a factory 65 kilometers away in Lacq.

The company, which denied it was pulling out of Accous, abandoned plans for the new factory....

Congratulations, guy:

Since March 7, when Lassalle started his hunger strike on a bench in the National Assembly building, he had taken only water, salt and vitamins and had lost 21 kilos.

"I have no desire to die, but I cannot, after almost 40 days of fast, stop like a sad clown," Lassalle had told France Info shortly before his hospitalisation.

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