Friday, October 31, 2014

Japan's culture of secrecy and shame

Beautiful, serene...but only on the surface.


Why Japan probably isn’t telling us the worst about its nuclear disaster.

"March 17, 2011 Any foreigner who lives in Japan—as I once did—is familiar with this phenomenon: If you ask a Japanese person on the street for directions, and they don’t know the answer, sometimes they’ll direct you anyway just to avoid the embarrassment of having to admit they don’t know how to get there or can’t help you. It’s an illustration of what the American anthropologist Ruth Benedict identified long ago as Japan’s culture of shame,” meaning the Japanese people are raised to behave based on how they’ll be perceived by others, as opposed to more Western notions of “guilt,” in which a sense of right and wrong is internalized as a moral code.
Like all capsule descriptions of national cultures, this one is too simplistic, especially for a globalizing world. But it may give us some insight into how the Japanese government is dealing with the nuclear emergency that its prime minister has called the worst disaster since World War II.
Tokyo is almost certainly not telling us the full truth, which has been getting more and more embarrassing. And despite the outside sources of monitoring available, the truth may be far worse than we are being told, if history is any measure."  ....  article continues, ending with some bottom line advice: Don't trust the Japanese [radiation safety] directions.
As Japan's flagship company, doesn't Toyota play by the same rules? While it may already be obvious to those involved with the Toyota MDL, allow me to point out that this brouhaha over the Barr powerpoint, which seems geared to keeping dark secrets under wraps, bears a striking resemblance to the pattern of censorship and misinformation after the Fukushima disaster. 
Shame trumps truth.