Is Japan at a crossroads?

The New York Times had one of those type pieces, and I’m not even going to link to it. I think it was Onishi again.

They are saying that people in Japan are looking at things as “Japan before the earthquake” and “Japan after the earthquake”. Maybe if you live in the Tohoku region, this is how you see it. But it’s hard for me to see that the rest of Japan (the countless millions for whom the last week and a half have been nothing more than a serious inconvenience) are going about things any differently than they have for years.

It was like 911 in America. There was “before 911” and then, THE EVENT THAT HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING! And it was shocking, but the people who went around living it in capital letters got annoying and boring very quickly.

It is nice to hear from old Japanese who say, “we’ve been through this before.” And I’m sure there are a number of other people, born after World War II, who are going about their business–crises or no. But I have a feeling that the triple hit has only reinforced people’s feelings about what has been sucking about Japanese society, and what they are going to be less tolerant of going forward.

As I have been saying, Japan has a lot of problems that need fixing, which don’t get fixed. For every problem, there is the well-crafted series of excuses. Sometimes, not even so well crafted.

Now, the:

Earthquake,
Tsunami, and
Nuclear Plant radiation

have created three more excuses for why bad things stay bad things. Don’t be surprised if people now employ these instead of the well-crafted ones from before.

I predict, though, that those excuses are going to be tested in a much tougher crucible in the public. It’s going to be:

1) how did the earthquake prevent “X” from happening (causing “x”, etc.)?

2) how did the tsunami, etc.

3) how did the nuclear radiation, etc.

and if the answers aren’t good enough, the people aren’t going to gaman. They aren’t going to suffer it in grace. They are going to go at people’s throats.

Where there is before and after, is that the runners of the place aren’t going to be able to play their games on solid ice. They are going to be standing on thin ice. That is the after.