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Publication of Nude Photos of Former First Lady Raises a Storm

November 18, 1993

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A book containing nude photographs of the widow of Indonesia’s first president has been banned as offensive to the nation.

The Japanese-born Dewi Sukarno, a former club hostess in Tokyo, was the fourth wife of President Sukarno, Indonesia’s leader from 1949 until 1965. He died in 1970.

The 140-page book, ″Shuga,″ was published last month in Tokyo by Scholar Publishers Inc. and has been selling moderately well in Japan. ″Shuga″ means superior elegance in Japanese.

Indonesia’s government banned the book Nov. 11 and warned that people who ″besmirch the good name of the country abroad can lose nationality.″

Officials contend the book disgraces Sukarno, who is a national hero for leading Indonesia to independence, although he was ousted by the current government.

″The illustrations in the book could offend the feelings, respect ... integrity and honor of the Indonesian people,″ Attorney General Singgih said.

Mrs. Sukarno, 53, rejected suggestions that the book disgraces her husband or that she had damaged his image.

″His life was dedicated to struggling for this country. How can one book damage his image?″ she told the weekly newspaper Detik.

″When he needed help, were there any of you who were willing to help him? It was the Indonesian people who actually imprisoned and killed the father of the nation,″ she said.

Sukarno was ousted after a failed Communist coup in September 1965. Until his death, he was a virtual prisoner in his house at Wisma Yaso.

Mrs. Sukarno told a weekly magazine in Tokyo last week that the book was never intended for sale in Indonesia.

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