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Regarding the March 9 article “Shinginko loan defaults hit 28.5 billion“: There’s more than a hint of irony in the name of the failed bank, the creation of which Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara virtually forced Tokyo taxpayers to cough up for.

Just as the author of the “Japan That Can Say ‘No’ ” wondered, we are left wondering if anyone in Japan will ever be able to say “no” to Ishihara himself. He is now blaming everyone else involved except himself, yet he was ultimately responsible both for the bank’s foundation and corrupt business practices. After frittering away a cool ¥100 billion of public money, he is now demanding an extra ¥40 billion.

Ishihara is likely to walk away scot-free because nobody dares challenge him. In Japanese society this seems to be standard practice because there is no cultural precedent of standing up to the powers that be, either to top government officials or to mighty mobsters. Everyone is too scared and selfish to even speak up for what is right, instead preferring to let bullies get away with everything.

david wood