The Japan That Can Say "No” (1989)
"There are 2 meanings to the word “No””
If you asked me, I would say there are two meanings to the book title “The Japan That Can Say “No””. The first is saying “No” to America. In other words, Japan asserting its position. The second is Japan saying “No” to itself—putting itself in the other person’s shoes and understanding the criticism that has been leveled against it. Both these meaning are implied.
By saying “No” we clearly state our intention. When the Japanese make friends they feel their opinions mustn’t conflict, whereas for Americans, the closer they get, the more comfortable they feel in exchanging ideas. Because feelings of friendship and opinions are separate, it is possible to point out differences and express one’s own thoughts.
Because I am constantly moving between Japan and the United States, I feel I have a pretty good understanding of both countries. In order for Japan to be understood by America, Japan should make statements like “we think this…”, “Japan is not the only ones at fault…” and “You also have your problem”. In explaining America’s situation to the Japanese, Japan also has a part to play in improving the situation. If you just shout that America is at fault, nothing will get better. This is my job, I think.
I can help develop some mutual understanding in order to build friendly relations and draw the two countries a little closer together. It is a difficult role to play but I want to play my part. Because “The Japan That Can Say “No”” was written for the domestic market it was written emphasizing Japan’s responsibility and I believe that Japanese readers and the American side also can understand that fact.
(Continued in Volume 12)
( Extract from"Nijuisseki e" (Towards the 21st Century), published by WAC)