From the Wall Street Journal to the Mainichi Daily News, over the last few days, several unlikely Japanese lawsuits have popped up. A bicycle importer – yes, the importer and not the manufacturer – was sued based on the Product Liability Act, because the front wheel of the vehicle came suddenly off its forks and the rider was left paralyzed. Then Ex-Fujitsu president K. Nozone offers his side of the story to the Wall Street Journal, on why he prefers to speak up, instead of leaving the company quietly.
For Japanese living in a densely populated area for many centuries keeping harmony in the group was a must. Abroad this behavior is often explained as the Japanese “wa”, which reflects an avoidance of self-assertion, individualism and the preservation of good relationships despite differences in opinion. Now all of the sudden it seems to me, instead of trying to find a solution for the benefit of all, getting it “right” in the public becomes top priority. I am wondering whether the idea of “wa” is loosing its strength.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤）