The Japan Times kindly asked Kathy Matsui, equity strategist, Adam Fulford, NPO leader/good samaritan, and myself to look back on 2011 and look forward to 2012 in a piece published on January 1st. (For the full article click the link below).
I have a jaded opinion of what Japan needs to do in the future is as follow after this, but I’d like to know what you think Japan needs to do this year as a nation to improve itself. Suggestions welcome. Here is my take: Japan needs government agencies with the autonomy to do their jobs, where whistle-blowing is rewarded and a free and independent press to serve as a fail-safe device when the watchdogs fall asleep on the job.
Japan’s biggest problems are not disaster readiness or dealing with the nuclear meltdowns. The biggest problems Japan faces are encapsulated in Tepco and Olympus: systematic corruption, lack of real regulation, and lack of oversight by independent bodies on the companies that have so much influence on the nation. The nuclear disaster at Fukushima was foreseen and nothing was done; mounting evidence suggests that the earthquakes alone caused enough damage to one reactor to start a meltdown. The Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency, instead of sanctioning Tepco, has been a cheerleader. The financial fraud at Olympus should have been uncovered years ago. Corruption is a cancer that eats at Japan and for the country to grow, those cells need to be removed.
I celebrated the 1st of the year with family back in the USA. I moved three containers of stuff out of my old home. It made me think a little about the new year and the past. Not that the past is ever really over, it just fades into the background, but haunts our lives like a ghost or a very surly poltergeist. I know what my resolutions are for the year but going back over all old blog entries I realize what I wish for 2012.
These aren’t my words but I wish I had the power to make these benedictions come true. Have a good year! (From tomorrow we will return to our usual caustic and black humor.)
May those who go in dread
have no more fear.
May captives be unchained and now set free
And may the weak now receive their strength
May beings help each other in kindness
May the lonely no longer be alone
May travelers upon the road
Find happiness no matter where they go
And may they gain, without the need of toil,
The goals on which they set their hearts
--benediction from Shantideva, Buddhist scholar