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Time for change!

July 30, 2020

Infection of Covid-19 never stops. In addition, the long rainy season, which has been rare in the history of meteorological observation, made me feel down and I didn't feel like writing a blog. Ah, I thought I was depressed every day, but in the blink of an eye, July was almost over. How fast it goes!

In this blog, I suggested that there are many problems that have been highlighted in the coronary war, and taking this opportunity, make a change what we should change against the problems in coming three years. After all, I found everyone is thinking the same way, how should Japan change after corona? What's new in Japan? This kind of discussion is heating.

Especially Japanese companies are exposed to talk about. Various opinions have been exchanged in magazines, newspapers, "emergency publishing" books, online articles, etc., but the problems pointed out are almost the same.

A typical example is the delay in IT introduction. Remote work is not progressing in many companies. Even if they can do remote work, they say that efficiency becomes lower. They still have to make a lot of paper materials. With a huge amount of stand-alone Excel works still in place, Digital Transformation is only at the lips. At the end of their job, they have to print out paper and report face-to-face to their boss to get an approval stamp, which is called “hanko” in Japanese. Well, it's extremely old-fashioned.

Criticism of Japanese corporate culture itself is reignited. The organization is designed to deliberately obscure responsibility, based on simultaneous recruitment of new graduates and the system of seniority. Employees receive in-house education that emphasizes homogeneity and uniformity and they are instructed to work reading between the lines among their organization. It is a virtue to be asked to do so, and to be willing to associate with a boss, to consider how their colleagues feel, and to care for his subordinates. Those who excel in such points are well evaluated. Japanese top executives say that female employees and elderly people will be fully utilized, but in fact, male employees who are full of work are still the core force. Promotion of female managers is just a pose, and Japanese companies are still sticking to the idea that male is superior to female, thinking that female should be a housewife supporting the husband at home.

The productivity of such Japanese companies, especially white collar workers, is extremely low. And if such Japanese companies are conservative in their thinking, their jobs are also conservative, they will not invest new business, their performance will not improve, and eventually the competitiveness of Japanese economy as a whole will decline.

The conclusion that everyone says is "This is the cause of the Japanese economic downturn, we must change with corona." In the first place, I agree very much. It is good that the long-standing issues that would otherwise have been neglected without corona are discussed at various levels at the national, corporate, and individual levels.

However, there is no meaning in just discussing. By the time Corona is over, it could end up being a problem with nothing changing. Originally, Japanese people is so volatile and they easily change the policy to deal with problems. They shout out “this is a big deal!”, but in the next moment they change their attitude like the hot air has cooled down quickly. Even if the discussion is half-way, it is essential to put it into practice. Rather than exhausting the discussion, do it immediately when it is OK at 70 to 80%. The Japanese people must have such a habit. What is essential is the cause for justifying each execution. It is a kind of centripetal force. With that, reforms will continue for a long time, not just a temporary boom.

This is the pattern of postponement of problems in this country over the past few decades. First of all, people called intellectuals criticize the old Japanese practice and scream that it should be changed. Then, the forces that resist it will appear. An expert cites Scandinavian models and Singapore as advanced examples of foreign countries, arguing that Japan has to catch up because it is behind. The resistance forces object and say there is no need to change because there is a Japanese way, or it cannot be changed immediately. In the end, the boom of discussions goes away, and both will say “we are tired and we gonna do it again”. Repeating this kind of argument is meaningless. It's just a waste of time.

Focus on the future, not the past or present. And let's draw a clear vision of the future of Japan. And set clear goals for this country over the next decade. From there, let's clarify what the current situation is and how and when it should be changed. Reading the various sources I've just mentioned, you can see that such an approach is too lacking. Therefore, the problem cannot be solved forever.

All the Japanese people share the vision that Japan should aim for, and the national government, companies, and individuals take the initiative in activities to achieve it. In the process, Japan's national power should naturally recover and experience a new way of growth. It should have been done originally by politicians, but our government and the Diet are no longer reliable. Then, there is no choice but to voluntarily do it with a private person like us.

In the next blog, I would like to disperse my opinion about that future vision. I would like to use that as a starting point to receive opinions from the surrounding "intellectuals" and to propose a future vision at a blazing speed, though I can't see at all when my next blog can be issued.


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