Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

Society that Treats Rebels kindly
TAKAI Nobuo / Attorney at Law

May 23, 2007
In Japanese society people who are regarded as newly successful are received more with negative feelings such as jealousy and envy rather than praise. The tendency in Japan for "The stake that sticks out to get hammered down," a tendency that prevents those successful from standing out in society, has grown out of the group-oriented mentality the Japanese people have acquired over centuries. In a society where lock-step mentality is pervasive and strong individuality is disapproved of genuinely talented people will never grow. Unless our society is transformed into one that sincerely appreciates highly capable and successful people, one that accepts differences in competence as is, Japan and the Japanese people doubtless will fall behind in global competition.

Takafumi Horie and Yoshiaki Murakami who have been indicted on allegations of the Securities and Exchange Law violations certainly need to look back with remorse at some of the things they did, and if they are found guilty at the end of the day it goes without saying that they should quietly serve out their sentences. However, to criticize them specifically for the violations is one thing. To bash them out of jealousy for the huge gains they collected or the flamboyant lifestyle that was much rumored about is nothing but an expression of a "culture of jealousy".

I fear that the mettle of start-up businesses and the nascent energy to challenge established notions that the two represented will quickly wilt. Quite a few people must have got the impression that the prosecution and others in power were severely bashing the two who represent the new emerging forces.

"Entrepreneurs" and "business managers"are fundamentally different. The former are people who come up with ideas for new products and services and start up business to realize those ideas, to create "something" where there was "nothing."If the enterprise comes to naught without taking shape they face the risk of being called a swindler. "Business managers" are people who steer already established enterprises by adjusting their course to grow the business.

New enterprises and businesses, more than anything else, promote the rejuvenation of the economy. That being the case, young people who are willing to take on the challenge of starting up new enterprises by accepting tough risks should not be incriminated in order to preserve vested interests. Now that a young challenger like Takafumi Horie and Yoshiaki Murakami who challenged older-style business managers with clear-cut logic of the capital have been mercilessly crushed, I honestly think that the future of Japan looks dismal. In the famous 1911 lecture the novelist, Tokutomi Roka, observed, "Never be afraid of becoming a rebel. Things new always are a rebellion."

With changing times and values what used to be "justice" may degenerate unnoticed into "injustice." Those who expound their sense of justice sincerely and seriously instead of tolerating demurely such state of affairs and strive to establish justice afresh will win broad support of society. "Rebellion" that bravely challenges "injustice" sitting astride established notions, if anything, is "rebellion by justice."

In Japan government-led review of economic regulations has been under way in recent years. As a result deregulation has advanced in all areas of society. The transition from an ex ante regulatory system, which restricts new entries into the market, to an ex post facto system that will apply rigorous monitoring and supervision after the fact likely will increasingly take hold. In a society with this ex post facto regulatory regime the critical question is how the administration and criminal justice authorities will respond to those who try to launch new enterprises by engaging in activity that is barely within the law. A posture that would keep out challengers from the very outset will be tantamount to ex ante regulation.

I very much hope that the government will be fully cognizant of this as it carries out its work. In other words the executive and the judiciary should not hold negative preconceptions about future-oriented younger people. There needs to be a kind attitude to regard positively these challengers who are aspiring to become "entrepreneurs" who create things where there was nothing. Should there be any problem the role of politicians and others in government who care for the future of the country is to properly guide them by non-authoritarian means such as administrative guidance.

Jealousy creates nothing. I earnestly hope that Japan will grow out of the culture of jealousy into a culture of praise in order to revitalize the Japanese economy.

The writer is Attorney at Law.
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

高井伸夫 / 弁護士

2007年 5月 23日
日本社会では、新たな成功者と目される者に対しては、賞賛よりも妬みや僻みといった負の感情が強く働く。成功者として突出する者を許さない「出る杭は打たれる」という我が国の風潮は、長年続いてきた集団主義的な国民性によるものと言える。横並びの意識が強く個性の発揮を疎む社会から、真の意味で優秀な人材が輩出されることは決してない。 能力の高い者や成功者を素直に称え、能力の格差をあるがままに受け入れる社会に変えなければ、日本も日本人もグローバルな競争に遅れをとることは間違いない。



「事業家」と「経営者」とは根本的に異なる。前者は言わば「無」から「有」を生み出すべく、新ビジネスを立ち上げ新しい商品・ サービス等を構想し実現する者をいう。事業が形にならず無のままで終われば「詐欺師」呼ばわりされるリスクを負っている。他方「経営者」とは、既に成立している事業を軌道修正しながら拡大推進させていく者である。





一般社団法人 日本英語交流連盟