©GLOBIS

“Japan has few natural resources. Seventy percent of its land is covered by mountains. It’s also full of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons. And yet, Japan has the third largest economy in the world. This is why I decided to learn from Japan at GLOBIS University.”

These were the words of a Malaysian student at the recent entrance ceremony of GLOBIS University.

Yes, Japan has shown tremendous spirit since March 11. At the same time, it has revealed weaknesses in leadership, both in the government and from TEPCO. This gap between civilized citizens vs. weak leadership has attracted media attention since the disaster. I believe this is caused by the lack of leadership education in Japan. That’s why we put such strong emphasis on educating leaders at GLOBIS.

Just look at the reaction to the March 11 disaster. We need leadership in times like these, more than anything.

Panic in Korea and China, Calm in Japan

More than 100 Korean schools have closed in Gyeonggi province, despite the PM’s office saying radiation levels in rain pose no health risk. Meanwhile, no schools have closed in Japan. In China, there’s a salt-buying panic. In Japan, people always queue up calmly to buy necessities.

I am not trying to say that Japan is better or worse. The best thing that Japan did was avoid panic.

This is just sensational media coverage. I often criticize the Japanese press, but I’ve heard Korean media is one of the worst, leading to 60~70% of Koreans leaving Japan since March 11.

The US vs. Germany and France

The US has just been incredibly supportive and shown us who our real allies are in the world. I would be remiss not to mention the US military support through Operation Tomodachi, as well as the government’s commitment to stay in Japan even in the crisis.

That contrasted with France and Germany. France triggered an exodus of foreign residents, while Germany moved its embassy to Osaka (becoming the only embassy among G8 outside of Tokyo).

It’s time like this, when thirty thousand people die and many cities are devastated, that people most remember who has been good or bad to them. We may not shout or complain, but we remember.

Buy Japanese Products for Solidarity

“How can we help?”

I have been asked that so many times, and here is what I write in response:

“Act reasonable and calm, despite what you hear on the news. Be patient despite the delay of deliveries. Keep buying Japanese products. Businesses are working hard to get back to normal, so please be patient. Our plants and factories are doing the best they can.”

I heard that quite a few foreign airports and seaports are rejecting Japanese cargo due to radiation concerns. Rejecting ordinary industrial cargo without any proof jeopardizes our relationship. I’ve also heard that Japanese restaurants overseas are suffering from rumors, likely stemming from sensational foreign media coverage.

So my friends, I sincerely hope that you continue to go to Japanese restaurants. Eat sushi and tempura. Buy Japanese products

Show solidarity.