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'Falsification culture' overtakes 'shame culture' in Japan

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-10-12 11:21

'Falsification culture' overtakes 'shame culture' in Japan

Kobe Steel Ltd Managing Executive Officer Yoshihiko Katsukawa attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan October 11, 2017. [Photo/Agencies] 


BEIJING -- When it came to light recently that Japanese steel giant Kobe Steel had been falsifying data for a long time, it shook the business circles and society of a country that used to worship "shame culture", the concept that it is better to die with honor than live in dishonor.

Some of Kobe Steel's aluminum and copper products with falsified technical specifications have been used not only in Japan's auto and aircraft manufacturing industries and the military sector, but also by foreign companies like Boeing.

It should be noted that the latest business scandal, which originated 10 years ago, is not a solo act. Misconducts like concealment, falsification and distortion have begun to prevail in Japan's government, business and military circles in recent years.

Last month, Nissan Motor Co., one of the three leading automakers in Japan, admitted that it employed a large number of uncertified personnel for the safety inspection of its products. Subsequently, Nissan was forced to announce last week that it was recalling 1.16 million vehicles which underwent flawed safety inspection.

In May 2016, Suzuki, the second largest Japanese manufacturer of light vehicles, admitted that it had falsified the fuel-economy data regarding 16 types of vehicles sold in Japan, involving over 2.1 million vehicles.
A month earlier that year, Mitsubishi Motors admitted that it had manipulated fuel-economy tests, which involved some 600,000 vehicles.

Misconducts are also increasingly spreading in the Japanese government and political arena.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie's involvement in the Tsukamoto Kindergarten scandal is an example. According to media reports, the head of the school, which is said to promote racism, tried to open another school. The new project was given prime land at a fraction of the market price, triggering an outcry.

Abe's office and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party struggled to hush up the scandal while the Finance Ministry reportedly hid, falsified and destroyed evidence.

Almost at the same time, Japan's Defense Ministry and the Ground Self-Defense Forces were found to be involved in covering up logs that recorded the daily activities of Japanese ground troops deployed as U.N. peacekeepers in South Sudan. The logs, detailing the tense situation in the violence-torn African state, could have derailed the government's troop deployment plans.

On historical and territorial issues, Japan is used to concealing, falsifying and wiping out any historical files or material evidence unfavorable to it.

Going by these misconducts, the sense of shame for lies and falsification is apparently plummeting in Japan. On the other hand, practices like falsification and coverups are becoming more prevalent, triumphing over the traditional "shame culture".

 

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