Realizing the national condition

Tokyo

As a long-term resident, good friend and fair critic of Japan, I have to agree with the hard-hitting opinions expressed in Roger Pulvers’ Dec. 30 Counterpoint article, “Is juggernaut Japan being driven to destruction (and no one’s to blame)?,” in Michael Hoffman’s Dec. 30 article, “As the new year approaches, Japan still reels from 2011,” and in Philip Brasor’s Dec. 30 Media Mix article, “Media figures of the year: The ‘Right Brothers.’

But I fear that their expressions of future doom and gloom for this country will not be read or heard by the average Japanese, who, according to a little survey of my adult students, are oblivious to such opinions. I guess those opinions are never translated and printed in the Japanese mass media.

What would they think of their country if they could read the likes of Pulvers, Hoffman and Brasor?

How can this country cure itself of its ills and revive itself if it doesn’t fully understand its condition? How can this country look forward to a bright future when it has just chosen the old, dark ways? How can this country unite with heads held high in a “Japanese Spring” when there’s no one to lead it?

How can this country gain the respect and friendship of the international community when it continues to show such a blatant disregard of its history; of human (and animal) rights including the death penalty, cruel whaling, the abject mistreatment of poor people up north and the truthful education of its children; and its abysmal lack of trustworthiness, good manners and honor?

I love this country, but from that love comes a stern and severe warning: If Japan does not take steps now to mend its ways, if it does not now take the righteous path into the future, then may God help it. A happy new year in Japan? Bah humbug!

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

paul gaysford