Quote Japan

Interesting, odd, outrageous or informative quotes about Japan

“Criticisms” in Shutting Out the Sun that are really just cultural myopia

– He compliments the South Koreans for basically being more nationalistic with a point to prove to the rest of the world

– He uses the rollercoaster ride in the South Korean economy and politics since the 97 Asian crisis as a lesson for Japan, whereas I imagine most unemployed Koreans would happily swap it for the slow, painless decline in Japan, including those moving to Japan despite the so-called success of Korea. I also doubt whether they would share his positive view of foreign investment in Korea or the role of the IMF

– He negatively compares Japanese politics to South Korean politics. Maybe he thinks Japan needs more fighting in parliament, presidents being impeached for political reasons, and students with crazy radical politics like support of the North Korean regime

– “Japanese executives run their companies like giant families organized for the benefit of their employees, managers, and society at large, not for that of shareholders…” pg 231

– “[American occupation policy was] just the opposite of our current policy in vanquished Iraq, where the Americans summarily fired all Sunni Baathists…”

pg 274. That’ll be the policy in Iraq that almost everyone now accepts was a major blunder

– Japan has not decided “What sort of nation should Japan become in the twenty-first century?… What sort of influence should Japan seek to exert beyond its borders? How should it react to China?… Most Japanese are unable to answer these questions”

pg 276. As Mr Zielenziger doesn’t answer one of those questions in the book, we can only assume he is in the same position. No shame there, as all he has done is pointed out that most Japanese have no answers to the questions almost everyone is struggling with

-Japan is reluctant to allow “610,000 immigrants each year over the next fifty [years]” pg 279. As that would the immigrant from 1% to about 35%, you can see how they might be a little worried
– “Today, no one has leverage over a Japan that possesses enormour national wealth, a robust military… and defensible borders…If Japan wants to be ‘left alone’… no one- not the International Monetary Fund or the United Nations or the OECD or the Pentagon- can readily interfere.”

pg 267. Sounds like the definition of a successful country to me

– “Japan could well bury any lingering dreams of global, or even regional,superiority and choose instead to turn itself into an Asian model of Switzerland, a peaceful, relatively prosperous, insulated, and increasingly irrelevant nation, a quiet and stable second-rank power. Could the Japanese vote on it, I have little doubt that a majority would choose such a gradual decline over any radical, destabilizing change” pg 283. Me too! If a majority of people think so, why should a person who keeps complaining about the lack of real democracy in Japan complain?

– “Japanese were still more likely to exchange short text messages on their mobile phones than use the keyboard of a laptop computer and the Internet…” Shutting Out the Sun pg 114
In fact, much of that tapping away is using the internet on their mobile phones, which seems quite advanced to me…

– “In Japan… talk radio [and]class action lawsuits… do not really function” Shutting Out the Sun pg 114.

Those being two things the rest of the world really envies America for?

– The Japanese don’t outsource as much as the Americans (pg 112)

I suspect most middle and lower class Americans would see less outsourcing as a good thing

– “Hegel never arrived on Japan’s shores” pg 126

Given the Marxist domination of post war academia, I very much doubt that is true- for better or worse. Unless of course his point is that in the West all ordinary people have been touched by Hegel…

– Japan does not have Confucian morality like China

– Japanese don’t invest as much of their money as Americans in the stockmarket(pg 108)

– Japanese don’t like taking risks with their investments (pg 108)

 – Japanese economy is not pure capitalism

– Toys R Us had problems setting up huge new megastores

– The Japanese system stops weaker companies going bankrupt

– The Japanese government protects domestic companies from international competition (as the Japanese national government representing Japanese voters, surely that is their job!??)

– “Shutting down scores of bad borrowers and throwing millions of people out of work would violate the nation’s sacred social contract, and cause bankers to lose credibility” pg 106 (believe it or not, that is supposed to a criticism because they didn’t do so!)

– “their existence continued to distort the market by keeping wages higher and prices lower than they might otherwise become” (high wages and low prices? Oh dear, what shall we do??)

-The Japanese government decided to use a “gentle, Japanese-style clean up”(rather than a harsh Anglo-Saxon -style one,I guess he means

-”it would pursue a policy of forbearance rather than inject…$700 billion…”pg106

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