Two Tribes of the Japanese - IISIA 株式会社原田武夫国際戦略情報研究所 -
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Two Tribes of the Japanese

I sometimes feel there are indeed two tribes of the so-called “Japanese”. The then PM Nakasone declared in 1980s that Japan is a nation of one single ethnicity, nevertheless, the deeper you penetrate into the Japanese society, the more you are aware of obvious difference between the two tribes.

The one is quite open-minded. The members always respect each other and accept innovations, or “something exciting for our lives” without any hesitation. They love to hold festivals and praise Bacchus. This tribe prioritizes to maintain peace and try to evade any conflicts.

Another one is quite different from the former. Members of this tribe doesn’t hesitate even to kill each other to secure their own interest. They never accept innovations, or “something unfamiliar” and reject whenever new ideas technologies come up. They really believe “Might is right.” They love to maintain their rule over the society and kick out whenever outsiders come in.

From ancient times, the Japanese often encountered strangers who came over to the islands after having been defeated in other regions. The ancient Japanese were clever enough not to kick off theses foreign guests but to accept their customs and technologies in order to further develop the society. This has been leading to the tendency that the Japanese love to accept something coming from foreigners, while rejecting their own inventions and innovations.

Let’s take a simple example: When you, as a Japanese scientist, succeed to invent a brandnew technology in Japan, it’s hardly possible for you to get acceptance from the Japanese society. Of course, you can ask Japanese leading companies such as TOSHIBA, HITACHI and MITSUBISHI to check the authenticity of the technology but in vain. They don’t take care of it, simply because they didn’t invent it by themselves. It’s not the authenticity but genuine pride that matters. Instead of repeating this kind of trials, you should immediately ask your foreign partners to get assistance. When your technology will be authorized by foreign institutions, you’ll be also accepted in the Japanese society. That’s it.

As I previously posted, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry had advertised the 10th trial of project to detoxify tritiated water emitted by the Fukushima Dai’ichi Nuclear Power Plant. As I frequently mentioned in this English weblog, a Japanese venture (“Company A”), which is theoretically capable of transforming tritiated water to hydrogen (!), applied for the project and was interviewed on February 6. The METI made the result public the day before yesterday on internet. The ministry just kicked out the innovation and accepted only other so-called “ventures” closely related to the above mentioned leading companies in Japan.

When the GOJ would pick up the technology of Company A, it could simultaneously solve two issues, which burden the Japanese society: Detoxifying of tritiated water and production of hydrogen without emittance of greenhouse gases. However, they reject such a technological breakthrough made in Japan and stick to the original policy that tritiated water should be attenuated and released to oceans. As far as I suppose, the final decision will be made in either April or May, and Japan will be given bashing from other countries. As a candidate for the Summer Olympic Games in 2020, the GOJ once explained the tritiated water was “under control”. Other countries will recall this and begin to blame Japan for having lied to win the race in Buenos Aires.

Getting back to Company A, the venture’s CEO explained he now consider to collaborate with foreign eminent institutions such as the Fraunhofer institute and the MIT. From the very beginning of the invention, they showed their willingness to get a technological breakthrough with Company A. Nevertheless, nobody could guarantee to call the technology “made in Japan”, after it would be just exported to overseas.

As long as Japan won’t fall into default, the second Japanese tribe I mentioned keeps to dominate and never let innovations into the society, I firmly believe. PM Shinzo ABE is the leader of this tribe, while the former one keeps quiet to await “the moment of the truth”. I myself try hard to prepare for the decisive moment to enable “Pax Japonica” to be dominated by the peaceful, original Japanese.