Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Whistleblowers (Criminals Part Two)

I did a story about whistleblowers in Japan.
Someone who has the courage to speak up against the Establishment is special in any culture.
But they are extraordinary in Japan because of the tremendous pressures to enforce corporate loyalty.
I faxed a copy of the article to Mr. Semba, a whistleblower in my story.
I guess he didn't know the article was going to be in English.
He wanted it translated into Japanese.
It would be impossible to get anything else done if I had to translate every article I did.
But I knew he couldn't understand the story that was about his three-decade battle, and I had to do it for him.
He was very sweet: "You wrote all that? You are a genius!"
Not really.
But in translating I realized the Japanese word for "conformity" was "wa," which means harmony, something totally positive.
Did you know that the word for "individualism," "kojinshugi," sounds really negative in Japanese?
How all this relates to the idea of crime was what I was getting to.
The individual courage and integrity of the whistleblower are such contrasts to the criminal.
The whistleblower speaks up, saying "No."
Most of us look the other way, shrugging it off as someone else's problem.
The criminal doesn't merely pretend not to know.
The criminal carries out the act.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

soooo....as a journalist, would you tell me why the article published in the SF Chronicle on 11-7-07 regarding a whistleblower at the NUMMI plant in Fremont was not published by any other newspaper other than the Chronicle?!!
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/07/BUAST7EEU.DTL

Anonymous said...

soooo....as a journalist, would you tell me why the article published in the SF Chronicle on 11-7-07 regarding a whistleblower at the NUMMI plant in Fremont was not published by any other newspaper other than the Chronicle?!!
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/07/BUAST7EEU.DTL

YURI KAGEYAMA said...

What a fantastic story. Thanks for leaving your comment and pointing it out. As for your question, the article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle because it was written by Chronicle reporter Michael Taylor, who was on top of the story and reported it. But that's not your question, is, it? You're asking why other Bay Area reporters aren't doing the story, too? I'm sure there will be other stories as the court case unfolds.
Please let me know if you see any developments. If you are Katy Cameron, please call me collect in Tokyo: 81-3-6215-8931.
Or send me an email at:
ykageyama@ap.org
Thanks again.
Yuri Kageyama

Anonymous said...

Thank you for responding. I am not Katy Cameron. My question really was--why wasn't/hasn't the story been picked up by the AP? This is really serious stuff if what she alleges is true. Especially given what is going on at Toyota right now. I e-mailed Michael Taylor at the Chronicle and he responded--"beats me." The law firm issued a press release to their PR firm. The law firm is http://www.thearmstronglawfirm.com/

YURI KAGEYAMA said...

Thanks. Yes, it is serious, if what the lawsuit alleges is true.