Tens of thousands of people reportedly dead. One of the biggest mega-disasters of our times. Yet what amazes me is the will and decency of the Japanese people. When there was the earthquake in Haiti, miscreants stole the tanks of gas that were on the vehicles of the news agencies. In other similar less developed countries, during any calamity or disaster – why, even in America during the Katrina disaster – there will be and were reports of looting. So far, we haven’t heard anything of that sort from Japan. We had been to Japan during Christmas 2008 and it is amazing how orderly and good citizenship-minding, the people are. You get a sense of ‘too-much-of-a-system’ in everything – be it public transport, subways, a taxi-ride, dining or shopping. One other thing that is extremely common is the politeness of the people – EXTREMELY polite is the word to use. No wonder they rose from the depth of World War II to become the second biggest economy in the world (just recently China became the second largest). Now, they have another challenge of huge proportions. With their debt already being twice their GDP (before the quake), they can be over-burdened for quite some time, but I am sure their resilience will help them pull it off. New investments will bring new ideas and we might see a totally different Japan in the decades ahead. So far, what was stifling to the Japanese economy was a lack of investment with borrowing being curtailed by the government and competition from the emerging countries that hit the core of their income generator – manufacturing. But, unlike many know, Japan also veils out the layers of corruption in their business making. Businesses are favored over the common man. None is more evident than the fact that while Toyota had severe scrutiny during last year’s recalls in the US, the same company had none within Japan. I hope the Japanese government and in particular, the current Prime Minister, takes the lead in weeding out corruption from the system. In the short life that we humans have, those in power are more focused on enriching ourselves. It takes but a disaster to realize that Nature doesn’t care what you have – it can wipe out Good and Bad equally. My point is, the short life has a chance to make a difference and many in power throw it away. Don’t wait for disasters to teach a lesson about mortality. Seize the opportunity and leave the world with a better conscience.
Wishing the best of recovery to the Japanese people,