Warning: This blog entry is quite a long one. It is about Japan, but I need to talk about my own country first.
Like many of my countryfolk I was saddened by the recent death of HM Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. May she rest in peace. What I was definitely not saddened by was the recent departure of that blonde buffoon Boris Johnson, a man sadly lacking in the qualities Her Majesty displayed in spades throughout her reign and for which she was widely respected, even by people like myself who are skeptical about the monarchy. I’m talking about dignity, self-sacrifice, discretion and plain class. Anyway, to the point…
In his farewell speech Johnson rattled off in his usual machine gun style a long list of his government’s positive achievements (more Foreign Direct Investment, more wind-power, more nuclear reactors to help us solve our energy issues, more trains…..more of everything except crime). Had I believed it I think I might have taken the next plane home! Unfortunately, though, Johnson inhabits a parallel universe. What he failed to mention, but what both he and the British people know full well, is that the nuclear plants will be built by French companies - hopefully with finance from China; the wind turbines are made mostly abroad; trains (which Britain invented but doesn’t make anymore) are made for us by foreign companies like Hitachi. I could continue in the same vein for a long time, but I think you get the point.
He also knows that the Foreign Direct Investment he is so proud of attracting is simply a euphemism for British companies no longer being able to provide jobs for British workers, so we have to rely on foreign companies to do it. Related to this, anything worth buying has been sold off to foreign buyers: Mini Cooper cars, top football clubs, prime real estate in London, new IT start ups that look promising and are quickly snapped up by holding companies in the Cayman Islands…..you name it. And it doesn’t matter who the buyer is. It might be ‘Sovereign Wealth Funds’ (often shorthand for middle-eastern petrostates) that are looking to ‘sportswash’ their human rights records (Manchester City football club). It might be Putin’s kleptocratic cronies, who apparently own mansions all over the posher parts of the capital (it is no accident that London is called Moscow-on-Thames or Londongrad). It might also be foreign billionaires who wouldn’t know the difference between football and cricket (Liverpool FC, Chelsea FC and Manchester United). The list is endless. The whole country is for sale, and of course it hardly needs saying that it’s people like Johnson who benefit most from it.
You may wonder what all this has to do with Japan. Well, it’s the contrast! Sure, we live in a globalized economy, but I just cannot imagine a Japanese prime minister standing up in Parliament and boasting about this kind of ‘Foreign Direct Investment’, or acquiescing to Japanese companies being bought up en masse by foreign buyers. And I cannot imagine the people of Japan thinking of the situation in Britain as anything other than humiliating. Would Japanese workers be comfortable if a foreign buyer interested in nothing but a quick profit (so-called vulture capitalists) made a bid for their company? I don’t think so. Would the Japanese people be ashamed if they no longer made their own trains, nuclear reactors and big ships? I’m sure they would. Would the fans of Tokyo Giants be pleased if their team was bought by foreigners with no interest whatsoever in baseball and who saw the club purely as a commercial enterprise? No, I am positive they wouldn’t. Actually, given that most people in the world have no interest in baseball (it seems to be on a par with Sumo as a global sport) such a takeover is very unlikely to happen. Who would want to? But you know what I mean, and I think I’ve made my point. I just can’t imagine any of this here.
ACE English はこちら。 ご質問・お問い合わせはメールにて大絶賛受付中info@aceenglish1995.com