Saturday, September 12, 2015

Very Kind Of Her #62

Elaine Kurtenbach and I recently had a conversation about the Olympic logo and stadium belly flops. As a much appreciated courtesy, she inserted a snippet from our talk in her eventual article. (Link)

However, I take exception to the thesis announced in the title, that the succession of egg-on-the-face embarrassments is the result of a particular Japanese mode of behavior or set of behaviors.


Indifference, laziness, buck-passing, box checking and blunt ignorance are not Japanese traits, nor are they the traits of Japanese bureaucracy and the Liberal Democratic Party. An insinuation that something essential about Japan has been exposed by this farce is poppycock.

Tokyo 2020 shows the world the weaknesses of one person: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Effective recruitment and deployment of talented advisors and officers are the prerequisites of good administration. In naming the persons he did to the chairmanship and vice chairmanship of the organizing committee, Abe guaranteed the committee's inability to function.

What we are left to speculate upon is whether failure -- albeit failure down the line, not right at the git-go -- may indeed may have been Abe's intent.


rontokyo said...

The title of Ms. Kurtenbach's piece refers to "outmoded, opaque decision-making" practices. Your characterization of these practices as "Japanese traits," specifically that of "indifference, laziness, buck-passing, box checking and blunt ignorance" would seem to be an inaccurate overreaction.

Your concluding remark, "What we are left to speculate upon is whether failure -- albeit failure down the line, not right at the git-go -- may indeed may have been Abe's intent," is, for me at least, a real head-scratcher. For what possible reason would Abe want anything but a positive outcome as regards the 2020 Olympics?

MTC said...

rontokyo -

Thank you for your comment. I nevertheless stand by my characterization of the gist of the article and by my questioning the sincerity of Abe's wishing the success of the Tokyo Olympics effort.

rontokyo said...

I didn't react to the article quite the same way you did, but that aside, why do you believe Abe wouldn't want anything but success for the Olympics? I can't help but thinking you're pulling a punch here [meaning there's obviously quite a bit more that you'd like to say]. I would be most grateful to read your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Mr. Cucek on this, with one caveat; whether intending to fail or not, Abe's choices of people (going back at least to the day Mori was appointed to lead) have been questionable at best.

rontokyo said...

Mr. Cucek wrote: "What we are left to speculate upon is whether failure [for the Olympic effort] . . . may indeed may have been Abe's intent." Agreed, selecting Mori was a mistake and displayed poor judgement and leadership, but Mr. Cucek is implying quite strongly that Abe's motive was to undermine the Olympic's success. With the whole world watching [and Abe's legacy on the line] for what possible reason would Abe want the Olympics to end in failure?

If Mr. Cucek is correct and Abe does indeed have a hidden agenda, without additional information I'm afraid I'm unable to understand this issue. Help appreciated.

Carl said...

Mr. Cucek has in fact expounded more about his theory on why Abe might have intended the Olympic Committee to be an ineffective one in a previous post.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot that is confusing about this post. I don't really understand how you can mischaracterize the original author, then disagree with the mischaracterization, and then say more or less the problems started with Abe and then continued down the line. If the problems continue down the line doesn't that suggest a tendency for Japanese organizations to obfuscate and pass the buck? Your alternative, however, is really out there: why on earth would Abe want this Olympic fiasco to occur?