With the increasing debate over the financial impact of the Trans Pacific Partnership, one thing seems to have been forgotten — the environment.
If Japanese farmers go out of business or are forced to change methods to heavily intensive agriculture, then the price of food will go down but the countryside will never look the same again. Farmers perform an unpaid service, conserving the countryside, making Japan look how it looks. If they go out of business, who will do that?
The Olympus affair also has an aspect that is being overlooked. While there were probably dubious goings on, the real reason ousted President Michael C. Woodford was rubbing people up the wrong way is more likely to be because he was ushering in American business techniques, which devalue people and treat them like commodities. The United States, where take-home pay has not increased in 30 years and inequality has reached record and surely unsustainable levels, is not a country to be emulated in this circumstance.
The traditional Japanese corporate ethos, while far from perfect, treats humans as humans and offers security to its workers. The more insecurity enters society, the more social unrest and inequality raise their ugly heads. Japan is currently the most equal of all the OECD countries, this is a major achievement and perhaps the main reason for the relative lack of social ills we see here.
Japanese companies and the Japanese government would do well to ponder these things before selling their country for corporate profits.
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.
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