What Japan Needs To Do in 2012: Op-Ed and My 2012 Wishes

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).

What 2011 means for Japan in 2012 and beyond

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.)

無縁地蔵尊-Bodhisattva Muen-Jizo, Patron Buddha of The Forgotten and Unmourned

 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

8 thoughts on “What Japan Needs To Do in 2012: Op-Ed and My 2012 Wishes”

  1. Hi Mr. Adelstein,

    Is there any hope for Japan?

    It seems like the whole system (politicians, news media, corporations) are all corrupt in Japan. The Japanese public doesn’t seem to care either.

    My questions is… Do you think Japanese people don’t demand change because that is their culture (to gaman or leave it up to the people higher up to make changes)?
    Or do you think that the news media hasn’t done a proper job of bringing up the issues that would spark nationwide debate?

    1. I think the attitude of most people is that if they wait long enough someone else will take care of it for them. The japanese educational system has also created a generation of 指示待ち人間 (people who await for orders and and don’t act on their own–shijimachi-ningen. Shiji means orders, machi-to wait, ningen-human being.

  2. Wow, you are really good about responding to posts.

    Just wanted to say that you have gigantic balls for all the work you do. Stay safe because I think Japan really needs journalists like you.

    1. Thank you. I have average balls, I think (LOL). I’m just no smart enough to know when to back down. Thanks for writing in. I try to respond to most posts, unless Stephanie posted the article. Then I just sit back and watch the mayhem begin.

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