Japanese people are known for their sense of propriety and decorum. Reserve and self-restraint are fine Japanese virtues, and they have afforded the society an enviable harmony and level of personal safety unparalleled in the developed world. Putting a damper on people's self-assertive instincts, and avoiding confrontation between them, keeps everyday social interaction on an even, and civil, keel.

Although Japanese society is, at its best, essentially civil, that trait also has negative consequences that I have experienced any number of times over the years. These have been encounters with media censorship in what might be called Japan's "conspiracy of silence."

In practice this means that rather than expose a blatant injustice, and admit to its existence, many Japanese prefer to clam up, pretend it isn't there and, ultimately, adopt a "solution" that evades the question altogether.