The revelations of education ministry impropriety are likely the tiniest tip of the ugliest iceberg in Japan sea’s of state sordidness.

The mandarins in every ministry must be spending most of their huge budgets on hiding and dissembling, and surely the practice of exerting influence for personal gain is just a tiny part of their inbred culture of bullying.

Top officials control government coffers, so if they do not get what they want, they can snuff out anyone below them. The ethos often seeps abroad, as when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe threatened to cancel “comfort women” compensation if a statue of a young girl remained on view in South Korea.

The public face of power is a pretense for serving the public, when it is only the interest of the privileged few that seems to matter to those in authority.

They are surrounded by near impenetrable walls of hypocritical self-righteousness, so very rarely does any of their widespread self-serving ever go public.

And even if it does, after just a couple of bows and meaningless wrist slaps, its back to the business of bullying as usual.

As Japan is still top down and chauvinistic, everyone instinctively bullies anyone below them as a matter of course, and will continue to do so until the hydra-like heads of its top brass are lopped once and for always.

Bottom line, don’t hold your breath, and if you want to get on, better bully some subordinates or be the nail that sticks out yourself.

David John

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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