Are the wheels coming off Japan’s traditionally organized social structure?

Recently one of the Japanese friends, who had visited major Indian cities for business purpose, commented on the economical developments happening in India. It was good to hear that a country like India with an explosive population makes remarkable achievements in industrial growth. He was eager to tell me the energy and confidence he could observe in young entrepreneurs and business executives during his interaction with them.

That must be true. The young educated generation in India is ambitious to reach new heights and prove their abilities. Drawing encouragement from the proven success of Japan and other developed countries, the young generation is motivated to add new dimension to the traditionally stained image of their country. I told my friend that the recent economical developments are concentrated in the industry only. There might be a low penetration of growth to the basic necessities too, but the growth is highly not organized or distributed in India. The poverty rate is much higher and alarming in India. The human rights violations, child labor, aggression towards women, malnutrition, infant deaths, and poverty to mention a few things that UN has put India on the top of their list underrate the recent economical growth.

As an Indian, it is a proud to hear that our country is growing. It is a relief and gives hope to those downtrodden millions of human beings, termed as ‘cattle’ by her wealthy class. Even the right to education bill proposed by the central government in India is questioned by some vested interest groups in the name of funds and basic infrastructure. They don’t understand that the idea of right to education is important to feed into the social structure, so that the administration, bureaucrats, social organization will strive to meet the requirement. That attempt is enough in a society to bring success. Years of suppression, caste and class based discrimination, disparities etc, have reinforced optimism in political brains too in India. India needs more enthusiastic young brains to overcome those optimistic blocks in the political front and move forward.

On the other hand, Japan’s economical growth and social structure has appeared as a model for me. During discussions, I used to point out my observations that Japan does not need any communist parties to bring socialism in to the society. The governments had done their job well to bring justice to all the citizens in Japan. I don’t claim that I have not seen anybody sleeping on the street. Yes, I have seen homeless people twice or thrice while walking with friends in the night through the busy Tokyo streets. For me and friends the scene was a strange experience in Tokyo. It is quite common in India or any other developing country.

Economy matters. If the country and people are rich and have enough money to satisfy the basic necessities, the money can be spent for luxury. Then the social life becomes a celebration. In developing countries, corruption in bureaucracy and political system has their roots in the poor salary structure. In Japan, as far as my experience goes, a good percentage of the population can afford to live with many luxury things in life.

Socialism is interwoven in the society. One of the reasons for this socialistic mentality among Japanese people as told by friends is the feeling of ‘unique race’. Japan, though possess similarities with the neighboring East Asian countries, has many unique things to make it separate from others. The almost homogenous society had made the things easier for the administration and law to implement, organize and interwove socialistic threads into the society. That was the efforts of past generations in Japan and the result is today’s Japan as a model state that other nations can learn.

I have always heard stories of loyalty, truthfulness and righteousness from foreigners living in Japan when they tell their real life experiences of losing money and valuables. One friend forgot his bag including passport, money and other valuables in a taxi, in which he came from Narita airport on his first day to Japan. He did approach the nearby police station to report. Following the instruction from the police, he went to the station the next day and to his surprise the police handed over his bag with all the valuables inside intact. Another friend from Singapore forgot to take change for 10,000 Yen from the vending machine. When he realized this loss on the next day, he made a hopeless attempt to check at the vending machine to get the change that was approx. 9200 Yen. After searching at the vicinity of the vending machine, he approached the nearby shop and explained his loss. To his surprise, they asked him what is the exact amount and time he lost the money. When he told both time and exact amount, they handed over him the money!

Yes, these have been what I used to hear from foreign friends, but recently, started hearing suddenly about taking care while riding crowded trains and do shopping etc. Some of the people started losing their money. The money won’t disappear by itself. It happens when the wheels coming off. The society could be symbolized to a vehicle. When the economy shudders, it is hard to keep the wheels in place.

Author: Jayaprakash

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