Regarding the April 21 letter “A situation similar to Britain’s”: It’s true that Japanese people like “reform.” Since the end of the Cold War, many political leaders have tried to reform society. But it seems they’ve had no remarkable success so far.
As for Britain’s late former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, a Japanese counterpart, Junichiro Koizumi, introduced market fundamentalism to promote free competition among many companies on a global scale. It was a drastic attempt to dismantle “Japan Inc.” However, it led to income inequality and shrinkage of the middle class, as many managers decided to employ part-time workers as much as possible to reduce labor costs.
This strategy was introduced to survive fierce global competition. As a result, many people were compelled to put up with low wages and unstable labor conditions. Therefore, they spent less and saved more for a rainy day. This situation continues after bringing about the worst economic predicament since the end of World War II.
Koizumi’s reforms were beneficial only for profit-oriented big companies — not for improving living standards of the general public. I look forward to the emergence of business leaders with a cool head and a warm heart. I believe this is the prerequisite for revitalizing the Japanese economy and society. The rise and fall of this country should not depend so much on business strategies.
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.