An article written by William Pesek bearing the same title on the subject of the Kurokawa Report regarding the nuclear disaster following the March 2011 earth quake and tsunami was published by Bloomberg.com in its opinion section on July 9, 2012. I likely wouldn’t have commented on it, as I have little interest in the disaster and know almost nothing about nuclear energy, except that while pointing out and seemingly agreeing with the conclusion of the report that culture bears a large burden of culpability for the disaster, Mr. Peske quotes from the report and then adds his own spin:

“What must be admitted, very painfully, is that this was a disaster ’Made in Japan,”’ Kurokawa wrote. “Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to sticking with the program; our groupism; and our insularity.”

Kurokawa might as well have been talking about the economy 20 years after Japan’s asset bubble burst. Here we are in 2012 and Japan still thinks the key to prosperity is a weaker yen, more aggressive central-bank action, limited immigration and excluding women from the corporate and political power structure. Talk about a world view that’s stuck in time.

This piece would have been quite unremarkable without this bit irony thrown in and I wonder if Mr. Peske can show us how prosperous Japan has been for the last 20 years with a strong yen, where the Bank of Japan has not been aggressive in defending the yen or why Japan has been dubbed with “lost decades.”

Honestly, I do not know whether to laugh at this mass of contradiction or to cry because such profound intellectual error, a preference for financial self- flagellation, has seeped into a new pop-culture version of normal. If Mr. Peske is right about anything, what we have is truly “a disaster made in Japan.” It really is too bad that he doesn’t seem to be the one who will start giving us the real scoop – we are all Turning Japanese (complete with a theme song to our demise).

 

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