I recently read an editorial in The Japan Times contemplating the damage that the Olympus scandal could have not only on the company itself but on the reputation of Japan Inc.
Sure, such a scandal could be devastating for a whole country, but this Olympus scandal should not surprise the editorial board of The Japan Times or any other observer of Japan.
Japanese are known for being honest to the extreme in some cases. It is often mentioned that if you forget your bag or wallet on the train in Japan, don’t worry too much about it, because you can be sure that you will get it back with nothing stolen. Probably so, but it is strange to see how this honesty in one part of life is not reflected in other parts of life.
In the Nov. 25 editorial, “A gambling problem for Japan Inc.,” we read about the arrest of the former chairman of Daio Paper Corp. on suspicion of causing financial damage to four subsidiaries by taking out massive loans from them for personal use on gambling.
On Nov. 27 we read an article about a restaurant in Hokkaido, which has sold deliberately mislabeled beef to Chinese tourists. And it is emphasized that the mislabeled beef was not sold to Japanese customers.
Many such scandals have occurred in recent years. Mislabeled rice. Mislabeled chicken meat. But Japanese memory seems short. The Olympus scandal should not surprise anybody with minimum insight into Japanese culture.
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.