A masked boy walks past nearly-empty shelves at a supermarket in the Japanese city of Akita. (PHOTO CREDIT: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
In the wake of Japan's deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant explosions, we have witnessed the almost indescribable chaos that follows a disaster of this magnitude: loss of life, severe injuries, homelessness, lack of water, food and proper medical care, the physical destruction of towns and cities, and a growing fear of radioactive contamination from power plants that seem beyond anyone's ability to control.
But one heart-wrenching byproduct of disasters like this one has been missing in Japan, and that’s looting and lawlessness.
Looting is something we see after almost every tragedy; for example: last year's earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the floods in England in 2007, and of course Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. It happens when some people who've seen life as they know it get tossed out the window feel that all morality has been tossed out too. It's survival of the fittest and whatever you can get your hands on is yours, no matter who it belongs to.
But that's not happening in Japan.
Journalist and social commentator Ed West wrote in the UK Telegraph yesterday how struck he was by the Japanese culture throughout this ordeal. He observed how supermarkets cut their prices in the days following the quake and how vending machine owners were giving out free drinks as "people work together to survive." And West was most surprised by the fact that there was no looting.
Many have pointed to the popularity of Japan's distinctive Buddhist and Shinto religions as well as how the values of conformity and consensus are considered virtues in their culture. That's one explanation, but it probably has something to do with remaining true to your moral code even in the darkest hours.
Here’s my question to you: Why is there no looting in Japan?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Because Japanese culture, unlike all other modern cultures, is based primarily on honor and dignity. Unlike our Katrina disaster, the Japanese don't see this as an opportunity to steal everything in sight. The so-called civilized world can learn much from the stoic Japanese.
Greg in Arkansas:
Two words: National pride. The people of Japan love their country and do what is best for the nation, unlike the United States where we love our country and do what is best for ourselves.
The Japanese are resourceful, innovative and disciplined people with a great sense of national pride. While they also have criminals and felons, it is not quite in comparison to the sleaze balls we have in our streets. It was disgusting to watch these scum bags loot stores in New Orleans during Katrina when they should have helped their fellow citizens in need. While watching the devastation in Japan is heart wrenching, it is so refreshing to see the civility of people within the calamity they are facing.
Larry in Georgetown, Texas:
Jack, I was blessed to visit Japan several years ago on business and was told that if I lost my wallet in downtown Tokyo that the person who found it would make it their mission to return it to me intact. These people are very gracious and kind.
Sociologists will tell you that the lack of looting is just the result of large numbers of people developing a more orderly society to cope with living in a smaller land mass. Personally, I've always thought it's because they're a more highly evolved race.
It's the Japanese culture - very refined, dignified, disciplined and civilized. We should all learn from them. They're the types of people you help out willingly because you know that they'll make full use of any opportunity to get back on their feet.
I don't really know. It would be easy to say that they are a very homogeneous society and perhaps in a way consider each other family. In any case they are to be applauded.
Two Words......NATIONAL PRIDE
The people of Japan love their country and do what is best for the nation......unlike the United States where we love our country and do what is best for OURSELVES.
The Japanese are resourceful, innovative and disciplined people with a great sense of national pride. While they also have criminals and felons it is not quite in comparison to the sleaze balls we have in our streets. It was disgusting to watch these scum bags loot stores in New Orleans during Katrina when they should have helped their fellow citizens in need.While watching the devastation in Japan is heart wrenching, it is so refreshing to see the civility of people within the calamity they are facing.
US Citizen living in Vancouver , Canada
There is no looting in japan because they have honor and we don't. It is that simple. The u.s. is the country that likes to call everybody else evil but yet killed hundreds of thousands of japanese civilians with two nuclear weapons.
The Japanese are much better at being Corporate Authority soldiers than we are.
Jack, I was blessed to visit Japan several years ago on business and was told that if I lost my wallet in downtown Tokyo that the person who found it would make it their mission to return it to me in tact. These people are very gracious and kind as well as other centered. When I landed back in the states I knew it right away because people are rude and selfish as well as self-centered. Just look at the way they behave waiting on gas for several hours. We can learn a lot from them but we won't.
Japan is not crime-free, but the Japanese enjoy a much more homogeneous, less riven society than Americans. I think the difference is education, in Japanese schools and in the homes. In America, learning and study are routinely ridiculed, students graduate without achieving minimum proficiency in reading and math, and "family values" are preached by those who, too often, ignore their own words. In Japan the people share common faith, beliefs, respect for learning, and respect for each other.
The devastation is so complete that would-be looters have no place to bring their loot and are probably more immediately concerned about food, shelter, aftershocks, additional Tsunamis and radiation exposure.
No sense of entitlement. Of course, in such a hierarchical culture, everyone is cowed into place, so thoughts of changing their place in such a manner is unthinkable. Equally, of course, what's there to loot? It's all been smashed to bits.
Boy! What a difference between hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Japan. Here the United States we had several days to get ready. In Japan they only had minutes and look at the results. In Japan they are taught at birth manners and respect for their country. There was no finger pointing or politics being played. Here in the United States many children learn their manners and upbringing from the street. Which results in take whatever you can get when tragedy strikes. To hell with the other guy, only worry about yourself. In Japan the people know everyone, all classes of people will get help. In the United States only big business gets that assurance, while the rest of people are left to fend for themselves.
because Japanese people at their very core, are very traditional and community-focused. They are not individualistic and self-interested. Looting happens because people are selfish, greedy and in most cases lacking in contentment.
Of course, we have heard of the Japanese tradition of saving face, but that is not the only reason. It may seem the Japanese culture is more repressed than our anything goes American society. However, they just have better manners, are more cultured. We have seen Americand cities and Mid-Eastern cities looted during disasters. It is refreshing to see respect for each other in Japan.
Perhaps a better question is"why are there no REPORTS of looting in Japan?"
The easy answer is: DENIAL. There is no problem if you do not admit to it.
You clearly don't capture the gravity of what's going on in Japan. People are more concerned about getting something to eat and getting out of the radiation and finding loved ones than they are with acquiring TV's and computers. There is something very wrong with this question at this time which says more about you than anything about the Japanese people.
The Japanese people are not self centered and care more about one another and their country than about their own individual needs. According to recent polls, the days of self sacrifice and humility are long gone for our country. Perhaps there's a lesson for us to learn from this disaster? One can only hope!!
Simple, its called respect and ethics
Japan is a nation that thinks in terms of the collective good. They realize that when one suffers, they all suffer. Every member of society is afforded respect, simply by being a member of society. Most respect & honor their social obligations to act decently towards each other. Sounds Socialist & Christ-Like !
Because there is a strict honor code there. People respect each other and their property. In the US, we don't! It's every man for themselves and God for all here!
Sociologists will tell you that the lack of looting is just the result of large numbers of people developing a more orderly society to cope with living in a smaller land mass.
Personally, I've always thought it's because they're a more highly evolved race.
1.there's nothing to loot.
2. where you going take it too.
Because of culture and monoethnic structure of Japanese society.
Perhaps their attention is to the devastation...what can they steal?
Perhaps they are too busy saving their own lives.
Maybe being surrounded by death, decay, a tide of human bodies washing ashore, and the threat of imminent destruction from the nuclear plant crisis have combined to dull any desire to snatch TVs from shop windows.
Because Japanese societal norms infuse the population with a sense of personal responsibility and integrity. We Americans could learn a thing or two from their example.
Many Socialist countries provide all of their citizens with a minimum standard of living that includes adequate housing, food, health care, education, etc.
These countries follow very strict laws.
The policy that they follow is: Our citizens do not have any reason to steal and if they do, They will pay dearly.
Many 3rd world Countries have adopted a "dog eat dog" government whereas you are left with this choice: Either steal or live on the street and go hungry. These Countries generally have a higher crime rate than the civilized Countries.
Greed, whereas the distribution of wealth begins to lower the standard of living for many, while increasing it for the select few, will increase the number of "haves" & "have nots" and quite often will lead to civil unrest in any Country.
japan has less of an "individual freedom" society than the U.S. it is society's future that's paramount. individuals are subservant to the betterment of everyone.
it doesn't seem to have hurt them. they are one of the most modern countries in the world; the 3rd largest economy in the world; in a nation that takes up less space than california. it's hard to denigrate success.
Excellent question. Is it because of Shinto-ism? Or perhaps the development of their society through subservience to feudal lords and emperors? Or does the close living conditions of so many people strengthen their respect for the rights and property of others, something that is seriously lacking the USA? Having worked for some weeks in Japan in the past, I was always amazed at the courtesy and respect shown to others. One could even see store workers practising bowing before the stores opened to customers. And, of course, the sushi and Kobe beef are to die for...
The world is watching them and they are displaying their very best. Unlike the Katrina mess our leaders and citizens displayed. Maybe just maybe we here in the U.S. can stop trying to cash in on every tragedy that happens. My list of takers not givers is as follows: Politicians , Labor Unions and Corporations.
The good people of Japan must think we behave like animals every time we have a natural disaster. The all to familier American news footage showing mob`s of folks running out of a broken store window with T.V.`s in hand every time we endure a flood or fire is embarassing to say the least.
The people of Japan are showing to the world great restraint, and patience during their time of need, and We would do well to learn from them.
Not to be insensitive, but the disaster happened far from cities where gangs and thieves live, plus everything worth anything is soaked. Don't put them on a pedestal just yet Jack, human nature will surely follow.
They are a advance society of people with high Morales and values which have been developed over centuries. they have a higher value on life than us.
Cultural difference is the only answer to this question. The Japanese has a very disciplined culture unlike the US or any other countries; no other Asian countries could even compare. In case you're wondering, I am not Japanese; I'm Chinese. I love Japan and its people. I was at a business hotel in Tokyo years ago, I will always remember this little observation. Every floor has the fire extinguisher in the hallway, just the can sitting on the floor. Not cabinets, not chained to anything, no need to break any glass. It will not cross anyone's mind to steal it, kick it, or move it. Everyone knows it's crucial for it to be there in case of emergency. I admire their disciplinary culture and it is very much needed at a time like this. My heart goes out to those affected by this horrific tragedy. I have no doubt Japan will recover from this faster than any other country would.
To answer that will be to shed light on America's problems. Compare a society that has instilled cooperation, duty, obligation and responsibity towrds others in society over self, coupled with a strong sense of shame and guilt for failure in those regards. To the United States of whats mine is mine and how do I get more.
Even in the face of this terrible disaster, the Japanese people have conducted themselves with great dignity and Decorum. May God bless them all during their great time of need.
There is no looting because their society is civil and caring
I don't really know. It would be easy to say that they are a very homgeneous society and perhaps in a way consider each other family.
In any case they are to be applauded.
I believe it is a cultural difference. Japanese would never degrade themselves and cast shame upon their family by doing something like looting. You see looting in culturals that are more self-centered where they "deserve" what they are taking due to some past real or perceived injustice. Following Katrina it was only the deeply poor who could not get out of the city that were left behind. The looters probably all felt there was some sense of social justice in stealing from the "have's". I would say the same applies to Los Angeles with it's poverty stricken population who uses any excuse to riot and loot, whether it is Rodney King or the Lakers winning the championship.
Jack, to simplify the answer, it is their up-bringing! They are taught to honor and respect their elders–they don't just throw them in some nursing home and forget them. Nor do they forget what these elders taught them, hince, an element of regard built into them from childhood!
The questions is what happened to us here and in these other countries? We were brought up with "morals", at least here in the US, for the most part. But the influnce of other's (media included) and a lack of inner stamina has corrupted quite a few–to say the least.
We, meaning others in these other countries, need to take a lesson from this–in more ways than one. (oh, was there years back and saw this first hand)
Good question ,Jack. Maybe Glenn Beck can give you an ansswer.
He said the quske was a message from God.
Mr. Cafferty, Japan & Okinawa have a culture of honor. As Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid Part II said, "honor very serious."
The wide cultural difference between the US and Japan. Their CEOs earn considerably less of a ration between their workers than in the US. Their education system is better, meaning less of an underclass in Japan than the US. They don't have the drug problem as the US. But probably more important, they are a much more disciplined people than in the US. Eve of Texas
It's simple Jack it is called respect for your fellow man or should I say person. Something we have lost in this country years ago.
From what I understand it's because Japanese culture is all about being humble and respecting others. To endure hardships and work together towards common goals and find middle ground on issues. Simply first, it is not a me first, overly materialistic society and its citizens are born into that. Sounds like they are on to something there, doesn't it?
1st their family/ people that pray together stay together. The attributes they display were instigated by their parents before them.
In 65 years they haven't forgotten, when they had to start over again and it's been passed to the current generation.
It's approximately the size of California with three times the population, they know what it takes to get along.
They got 'gut's', they'll be back bigger & stronger. The principals they live by is beyond what 'we' can conceive. "WE" lost it about 40 to 50 years ago!
The Japanese are raised with self-respect and respect for others. Their honor is of more value to them than a television set.
Is Japan a welfare state? Do Japanese have a culture of entitlement? Was there anything to loot? From the look of the pictures, there was not anything unbroken, or worth taking. Except the strong spirit of the Japanese. I'll take some of that.
As alien a concept as putting the good of the whole over the good of the invidual is for Westerners, it is the norm in Japan, where social order and calm are prized above all traits. What the Japanese lack in individual me-first bravado, they make up for in love and respect of community. If I had to be rocked by a natural disaster, Japan is where I'd want to be.
Excellent question Jack! I would say that it;s not in the Japanese character to treat people with disrespect and worse. I worked for a large Japanese telecommunications company in the 1970's. Our Senior VP fought in the Jaoanese army in WW II. He was the most gracious person I have ever met. And all of us that worked for him (especially the Japanese) paid him the utmost respect. When Mr Yamamoto was retiring they brought in his replacement. A mid 30"s Japanese gentleman that was Harvard educated and grew up in the States. This guy was the complete opposit. Arrogant, thought he knew it all, and was held in contempt by the Japanese in the office. THERE YOU GO.
The Japanese culture is ruled by saving face. After the earthquake and tsunami this has been both good and bad. It keeps the general public courteous, calm, and collected, but it also stops the government and Tokyo Electric from straightforwardly divulging information.
Respect and love for one another!
Simply because they are a civilized people who take life, both good and bad in stride.
For once I think you're dead on. Morals, honor, respect, etc. are all important attributes to the Japanese. They're selflessness is the reason why they'll survive this. This is a harsh contrast to America, where the mentality is always "every man for himself".
It starts with a people that have respect for one another, whether or not its a National disaster or everyday life the Japanese have a deep love for one another. What a concept..............
East Dundee, IL
There aren't a lot of survivors in the tsunami area. The government had shelters and distribution centers to supply necessities to the people up and running in a couple of hours. The Japanese actually have disaster drills for their people, so everyone knows where to go and how to get help when something happens. And the Japanese work together instead of everyone just trying to fend for himself.
It's true that there is nothing to loot but even if there is, why would you loot where everyone else is the victim? Why create another problem? Looting will not solve any problems. Tsunami may have washed away everything, but their conscience still exists.
You don't have to look to Japan as the only example of putting one morals values first. We have had homegrown examples here in the good old USA . I would like to know why so little attention was given to the catastrophic midwestern floods of 1993 and 2008? and the lack of lawlessness and looting that occurred.
Also there was very little attention given to how communities banned together prepared and after the floods started rebuilding without waiting on the government to bail them out. I think its a cultural and regional attitude lack of a sense of entitlement.
I no you will not have the courage to answer this especially considering the almost painful effort today's media puts into making sure every bit of news is filtered through the PC police.
The question remains why are moral vaules more pomanant in some parts of the world and for that matter our own country?
Because they, unlike others, who profit from the suffering of the innocent, know the TRUE MEANING OF THE GOLDEN RULE and understand how
the person that they help, could easily someday be the person that helps them or someone they know or love. People that believe in survival of the fitest will stop believing that, when the day comes that they realize they are not as invincible as they thought and need the help of a person who remembers what it means to be a decent human being, who hasn't lost their moral compass.
We've lived in Japan for over 10 years, and have come to learn that people NEVER assume that the rules don't apply to them. If everyone follows the rules, things go smoothly. If not, chaos breaks out. In a place this crowded, people can't afford the individual feeling of being above the law. Being true to your moral code is, if anything, MORE important in times like these to get everyone through.
I think this goes all the way back to how Japanese culture developed. When you grow rice in this mountainous country, you can't do it alone. There's too much work building and maintaining the paddies, dams, and ditches required for one family to do it all. So communities have always worked together for the common good. Even though there aren't so many farmers these days, people are still expected to contribute to their communities. Looting is completely antithetical to that ideal.
I wonder if everyone would behave the same if Japan was more of a melting pot of cultures and religions like the US. We boast about our diversity, but we also fight each other tooth and nail because we can't get past or cultural/religious differences. Japan's motto: We are all one. US motto: Me and my people first! Can we ever learn to trust each other enough to help each other in time of disaster? We've proven so many times in our history that we can't.
dave from michigan thats easy to understand in japan a large corperation is not seen in a negitive way. the boaed room members don't rip off the shareholders with out of control wages. the people who are selling things people need are not price gouging and people who sell gas are not trying to ripe the people off. if this happened in this country right now and i were a person of wealth i think i would hide in a hole. there is alot of anger here and this would be enough to trigger a bad response toward the very rich. in this country large retail conpanies lock up their businesses very fast to protect their profits. in japan the food stores stayed open and are still open with empty shelves to see that they have nothing left to sell.
Culture Jack and a sense of national pride in the event of emergency that is taught from day one in their schools. School teachers in Japan are held in positions of respect to ensure all the attributes you spoke of are instilled at an early age.
i live in kentucky and i work for a bag company. Thats buys alot of Japanese bag machines. I went there in 1987, then went back in 2005 had other oppurtunites but couldnt go for reasons. I am now getting ready to go back. Your viewers ask why there is no lotting in Japan.
Well let me tell you a little story. My first time to Japan i was a complete stranger. I was scared to death never flown and had spent 14 hours in the air. These proud people treated me like their own child or family. I felt the love of the people and the country there is beautiful. We got on the subway and it was like a can of sardines packed. there was no pushing no shoving even though it was croweded they held on to everyone there was no pickpockting. there was no anger only love.
Then when i came back home months later one of their top men machine company came to visit and set up our machines. he stayed with me at my house for well over a month to return the respect that they had shown me. he drove my car, came and went as he pleased. treated my 5 year old son as his own and stole nothing, asked for nothing and wanted to pay for everything even though i would not accept it because the love japanense showed me during my trip over there. then i went back to japan nothing changed it was the same story all over again, and they ask why there is no looting there? Because the japanese care they have pride and they care for everyone. and they are my family they turned no one out. remember they are very proud people, i proud to say this but we could learn alot from them. i pray to god that the friends i have over there which are japanese are okay and i hope the rest of the japanese are okay as well. god be with the japanese for their lost ones and tradgey they have all suffered. I know they will come back because they are proud strong people.
I lived in Japan for 3 years. There is a real sense of community and family with respect for themselves and other people that you don't see anywhere else. It is passed down to them by their parents. I feel it is based on their religious beliefs, their love of antiquity, and the fact that they live on an island which certainly influences their perspective on life itself.
There is a sense of pride and a sense of devastation for the whole country, the whole country is suffering and everyone has an idea of how his/her neighbor feels. Unlike here, where the looting and rioting happens because someones sports team loses a game.
Do you know why? We have a long history to cope with natural disaster since ancient times because we are agricultural people. We know that we can't beat mother nature. We know how to care and help each other.
After the earthquake hit, it took my female friends four hours to get home by foot. But there was no danger while she was walking. It is also amazing.
I have read all the above comments, and there is alot of truth in what everyone has to say. Now being realistic, in the areas that are almost totally devastated, there is nothing left to loot, it is a sheer pile of rubble, that will take along time to clean up and restore to a liveable state.
Having lived in northern most Hokkaido (Wakkanai) for almost 2 years
back in the late 60's, I got a superb insight into the people, and was most impressed with their sincerity, and willing to please. They are polite, courteous and yet very private. I will never forget that wonderful
experience, and have the utmost respect for the Japanese people, as they respect themselves and each other. God bless all of them!
I think that japanese morals are just better than some of ours. and they seem to be a kinder and gentler culture. I noticed no looting on the first day, but until it became wierd to the journalists, it had no shock value, so why report it, right jack! We should all look up to the japanese people...perhaps it is in their religious beliefs, or maybe they just have a better sense of whats right. I also believe that our culture is so anamoured with money...i.e..greed...that we forget whats right and good about helping our fellow man..i mean, something happens in the world, and our prices in the u.s. go up,,,greedy corporations,,,shame on you. I think the japanese may have figured out how to live in peace....if only the rest of the world would lose their egos and admit it...then we could ask them what makes that characteristic possible,,and then we can all live in peace...so thats what john and yoko meant!
Respect for their own country
from the highest authority political or business, this society knows that everyone needs to survive.
I am sick Jack. over how we have totally lost this reality in our country.
We get entertained by our leaders instead of leadership. We get lied to by our press . And we accept this because we have all forgotten our fellow citizens plight. We will soobe a third world nation and we have no one else to blame.
Here the culture plays the big role. Culture means the religion, both are intertwined. They do not think the natural disaster as an evil, it is part of creation. Like in Hinduism, god of destroyer is worshipped. When there is a creation then there will be destruction. Japanese attitude towards these earthquake, Tsunami, volcanos is why they are not blaming, looting or screaming. The acceptance towards these disaster gives lot of strength. I salute them.
Your question caught me off guard. After working so many years with Japanese friends and colleagues in American, overseas, and in Japan, I can't imagine them looting.
Maybe there is your answer. Because they are Japanese. The people and the culture are one. They just don't do that.
I was a missionary in Japan for three years. During my stay in Tokyo for language school I was cared for by a Japanese family. In the news one day was a story of a man who left $10,000 in the back seat of a cab. The cab driver turned in the money and the man received his cash. I comented to my host about how amazing that was. She had a very puzzled look on her face as she said to me, "What else would the cab driver have done?"
That's what it means to be Japanese, they are eclectic. They pick the best from many different religions and moral codes and make it Japanese. Why is there no looting? They would never think to loot in the first place!
Japanese learn to respect and take into account the greater good as much if not more than their individual self interest.
Less Inequality –
I believe the lack of looting in Japan must be in part a result of the lower level of economic inequality there in comparison to other nations. High levels of economic inequality breeds dissatisfaction, and a natural disaster presents an opportunity for people to take what they can. People are much more likely to loot when they feel like their place in society means that they have much fewer resources than others. Equality, on the other hand, breeds cooperation – which I think is what we see in Japan.
Jack are you seriously applauding Japanese morality? Perhaps you need a history lesson. Do a search on Bataan death march, rape of Nanking, or ww2 comfort women. Even today criminals of the past are honored as heroes and history books are edited.
As far as looting goes my guess is that these hard hit areas are isolated, completely devastated, and have nuclear reactors melting down nearby.
Because that's not something you are supposed to do. You don't steal. Everybody has to work together to get through this. If the order is lost the effort will get that much harder, and that's just plan common sense.
It's just not in our make up to loot.
There are several different possible answers to this question. All of them in some way true. All that I know is the more I watch the events following this disaster, the more I admire the Japanese culture. To see a people acting in such grace, dignity, and social regard to others is refreshing and uplifting. It's pathetic what we're even stopping to question here.
People have been better trained and they don't think "looting" to be an option.
I think it is because Japanese society still has a sense of shame. We hope we will chose to do the right thing just because it is the right thing. When our lesser nature starts to get the best of us, a healthy sense of shame can keep us in check. The US is by-and-large shameless.
It's about values and prioritys.
What is more importand; your personal neads or your commitment wiht your family, friends, neighbors and your bonds wiht society in general.
One word: Respect. The Japanese culture has been infused with morals and ethics for centuries. Children grow up learning respect at home and at school, and these lessons follow them throughout life. While there will be “bad eggs” in the population who will loot in times of chaos, a majority of Japanese will be busy helping each other.
I guess , Japan is homogeneous society .
people feel that "we are one family ".
if your sister or brother is drown, you save him or her ,don't you ?
sorry for my poor English ...
there is no looting because the concept of RESPECT is important to the japanese, so they TEACH it. it's that simple. from the earliest flowering of their lives, japanese children are TAUGHT the concept, and deliverance, of RESPECT. the concepts of respect, decency and honor are not so important in other cultures. the poverty of morality is put on glaring display when catastrophies such as this arise elsewhere. (see the west and middle east) now you'll excuse me Jack, i have to watch a re-run of the Jersy Shore...
I agree with the statements about the Japanese culture and the values that are placed on honor and respect. But maybe it's also partly because the average Japanese citizen isn't as desperate as the average citizen of (fill in the bank.) The Japanese, as a society, have taken great care of each other.
The Japanese believe the journey is just as important as the end result. Our culture believes that the end product (victory or survival) is more important. With this in mind, during a disaster we are focused on surviving and anything goes. I am not surprised by behavior of the Japanese. In fact, it makes me want to move back despite all the harzardous conditions.
I don't know for certain, but it is probably the same reason there were no attacks on US servicemen during the occupation of Japan after WWII. The Japanese people have consistently shown an ability to cope with adversity whilst maintaining the highest standards of dignity and humility. Japan has shown tremendous friendship to the US for the greater part of a century, now it is time for us to give back.
Why? there may be 2 reasons. One the Buddihst and Shinto religions stress calm and order, and two the Japanese people seem to be like sheep. Following military leaders into wars, coporations that provide every single need in life. Yes it is very orderly, but at the price of having an entire society of Stepford-wife like people. Give me good old individuality.
What kind of question is this?
Cilized people do not do looting. You are one of them, aren't you?
Only people without self respect do such thing.
There is probably nothing to loot. As a Japanophile layman, I would dare say that It is, nonetheless, true that Japanese culture, which includes Shintoism and Buddhism, among other social or historical factors, is the main reason why there is no looting, plain and simple. As one Japanese immigrant in the US once told me, the Japanese are mainly a rural people, and those values are manifested in modern Japan. It is a very polite society, a product of rural origins and aristocratic culture. Any cursory look at Japanese society will reveal that Japan is a very safe country in terms of crime. If one were to observe Japanese themed events in the United States, one would notice that very little security is required. Oh, but that the rest of our society would learn from the Japanese!
The Japanese are moral people for the most part. They teach their children right from wrong. They practice and teach self respect and respect for others. If you loose your wallet here, you will get it back with absolutely everything in tact. They would rather starve than embarrass themselves or bring shame to their family.
This is why I have chosen to live here for the past 15 years and have chosen to raise my children here. I am a Miami native. The Japanese are great people.
The Japanese government has adequately taken care of their needy, and displayed consistency in policing and justice, creating a stronger sense of the Japanese people all being in the same boat.
In the other nations you mentioned, the needy lack that faith in their government, and thus when disaster strikes, people feel on their own and that they'll be able to get away with anything. They feel if there's no leak on their side of the boat, it's not their problem. And those actually facing the leak will do anything to deal with it.
There is no looting because there is nothing left to steal or where to take it too as some of you have aluded to...you can make the same argument for Haiti or Katrina. Its a known fact that even if you drop money on the ground or left your home unlocked that there would be a slim to none chance that your belongings will be stolen. Bottom line is the Japanese have at their core a sense of patriotism and decency that is absent in our country-especially post a disaster. We should take this opportunity to learn from them, not make excuses why we loot.
I believe that the reason for there being no looting in Japan is because of how homogeneous their society is and here’s why. I recently studied abroad in South Korea a country very similar to Japan in terms of their society. I lived in the metropolis of Seoul. Seoul has a larger metro population than New York City yet has nearly no crime and is very clean. Police do not even carry guns. Now some may point to religion as the reason for the lack of crime and the care for cleanliness but only half of the country believes in religion at all. I found in my time there that because of the fact that Korean society is so homogeneous that morals and values were easily maintained among generations. These values include the Ideals of respect for elders as well as others and their property. Also respect for authority and rules were also highly valued. This is true in Japanese society as well and is why you see social order in a time of chaos.
I think Japan has something that the US has lost, respect for others. We love our freedoms but with greed and selfishness taking over it has turned this country against itself. I rememember when 9-11 happened, our local gas stations jumped gas up to $7.50 a gallon just like that. Some have no pride what-so ever and take advantage of every trick available. No more how can I help you.... how can you help me.
It should not come as a surprise that there is no looting in Japan. Their upbringing, values and discipline in their society is an example to the rest of the world. It is too bad that it takes a disaster for the rest of the world to notice. Japan deserves our admiration!!
H Ramirez, California,USA
Honor, it's as simple as that Jack
What other country had two “Atomic Bombs” dropped on them? That was devastating for them and I imagine humbled them to a severe degree since they are a very prideful nation. That only happened 66 years ago! They’ve seen “Armageddon” before. No doubt this had something to do with their strong family and moral values now. I'm sure that the stories from Hiroshima or Nagasaki are a constant reminder on how to survive the "Human way".
30,000 people were rescued within 4 days after the disaster. 50,000 troops for the rescue and recovery efforts. Shouldn't we do the obvious comparison to Katrina?
After spending more than 8 years in Japan on USAF and USN bases, I have to believe it's Honor. While I was there, 1975-1996, you could walk though cities with a clear garbage bag of money over your shoulder and you should only fear foreigners. My question is, when does the emergency Early Return of Depenents start for Misawa AB, NAS Atsugi, Camp Zama, FLEEACTS Yokosuka, and Yokota AB. Those family facilities and schools would be a tremendous asset to Japan's ability to maitain response personnel and equipment and rebuild.
I am from Plano, TX. There is no looting in Japan because the Japanese are the most honorable people I have ever heard about. They believe in honor and dignity and looting would dishonor not only themselves but also their relatives and ancestors. It would be too much of a burden to carry to know that they ruined their family names. They already have enough burden with the devastation all around them.
I lived in Japan for three years while serving my country. The reason there is no looting following this disaster is because the Japanese society is based in spiritual principles. Honesty, discipline and honor being the cornerstones of what shapes the very identity of the culture. They have a strong sense of brotherly love which allows them to exhibit an immeasurable amount of empathy for others. Truly valuable during times of trouble. By interacting with them, at a very young age, I learned that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. They fully understand the world is watching and not one of them is willing to misbehave and give the world the wrong idea. What is amazing about them is they behave even when no one is looking also.
It has to do with the fact that East Asian cultures are more community oriented than Western cultures. Rather than worrying about how much they can accomplish for themselves, they are more concerned about how others see them and preventing a loss of face among their peers.
The Japanese are educated that community mores are important and above individual needs. They are a very stoic people who would not want to embarass themselves by doing something not generally acceptable. School children dress in cute little uniforms, take school seriously and learn about expectations of Jthe Japanese culture.
When I was in my early 20's (1983 or so), I sat next to a couple of Japanese teenage girls on an Amtrak train in California...they were giggling and looking at a teenage "star" magazine. When I asked who the stars were, I was amazed to learn as they told me, while some were actors, singers, dancers, etc... some were engineers !! This always stuck with me about the Japanese. It occurred to me at the time that this was a sign of being truly civilized to place such high value on achievement rather than just focusing on, or giving recognition for good looks and sex-appeal as we do so often. So why don't the Japanese loot ? Well, for me the answer is that they are simply more civilized than us !!
As Americans we take pride in our faith, but do not live a life of faith. The Japanese live by the Golden Rule. In America the Golden Rule gets in the way of the me generation. It is that simple.
I was born, grew up, lived for 30 years in Japan and have been living in US for 26 years. I don't think the behavior in this situation is related with Shintoism or Buddhism. The culture has long history to give the first priority of harmonizing each other for 1500 years. When people are forced to be under huge disaster like this, they naturally unite together to overcome the problem. They might have pride not to commit the crime because they are very obedient to the law.
I recall my conversation with American friend here about the drug use. I told him it was impossible to access drugs even unthinkable exposing one to drug at high school or college. e asked me why. And I answered him" It is illegal". His eyes seems to be shocked.
Dear Mr. Cafferty,
First I have to thank you and all the support by your nation.
One word, "Bushido".
It is the soul of Japan, it is in our blood.....
It is so many things... hornour, pride, self-control, respect, the duty of loyality, politness, recitude, sincerity, courage, bearing...
and it works as an ethical system in our society.
It may take a long time, however, Japan will rise, it always has.
lived in Japan for 5 years and I would never ever expect looting in Japan under any circumstances. I believe this because: 1) it is deeply shame-based culture wherein stealing would bring shame to you, your family, the company you work for, the schools you attended, the teacher who taught you etc, and this ethic of shame is felt equally by everyone as it is taught consistently and homogeneously by parents and schools across the whole country; 2) income inequality is mild, compared to say the US, so that most people feel they have a fair and just share of the pie; 3) the country is racially homogeneous such that inequality arising from racial injustice and prejudice doesn't tear the social fabric; 4) Japanese people will do what is good for their group not what is good just for themselves, they are focused on minimizing the negative impact that their individual selfish behavior has on their group, and that group during times of emergency likely extends very widely to their whole city or perhaps the whole nation, so that doing something that is self-centered or individualistic like stealing is seen as hurting others in their community and nation.
The Japanese people are truly one of a kind. They are kind, selfless, respectful, honorable and compassionate people. The rest of the world should take notice of the Japanese and their ethics and morals. Here in the US and in other countries we are so materialistic and greedy that it has dulled our minds, souls and body. We have lost focus on what is most important. Maybe what the Japanese have suffered through will be a wake up call for the rest of us.
The Japanese are the "birds of a feather" and Americans are the "pigs oinking at the trough." It's all about how individualism and competition are not the answer, being human and working together is and will always be the ultimate goal.
The Japanese do not have the same levels of intense poverty as we do here in the US.
I bet there's no Japanese word for "entitlement".... think about it.
in buddhism everything is one, so it would be like looting on yourself...
lesson to be learned for the rest of us....
On a flight from L.A. to Tokyo, I left a carryall with my wallet, passport, and hundreds of $$ in the men's room. Hours later when I realized what I had done I rang the flight attendant. She asked me if I had checked the men's room. Having travelled extensively in the U.S., it didn't even cross my mind that it would still be there. It was and it was exactly as I had left it! My admiration for the Japanese people and culture increased dramatically after that incident. I have never had an experice to change that opinion. I hope all the civilized people of the world help these desperate people in the hours of their greatest need.
Simple: no diversity.
Nobody thinks some other tribe will use the disaster to put one over on them.
I think there is no looting going on in Japan for the simple fact is that they arent anything remotely like the residents of the US. As soon as something horrific hits our homeland like a natural disaster, Americans see it as fair game to get anything and everything that isnt nailed down. I think it isnt in the Japanese nature to behave in such a manner as that. Im just saying!!!
I imagine there has been some looting/salvaging in the worst effected areas where rescue teams haven't been able to reach. The difference between the earthquake/tsunami and Katrina is that rescuers have acted quickly and people have been able to get food and supplies. So there's no need for them to loot.
I was born and rised in Japan. I moved to US when I was 18. I think the answer to why Japanese have a strict moral code is in our school system. From the first grade to 6th grade, we had at least one hour a week of "moral education". In the classroom, I remember we read various stories of people in different situations and discuss what we think and what we would do. Teachers never gave us clear answer to what we should do or what we should think, but I remember I was often told that "Put yourself in the other's shoes". This practice somewhat helped me to build a compassion in other people.
The differences between our countries are great and varied. Foremost, their government cares about its citizens. Citizens care about their society and have a sense of pride in their conformity. Peacefulness as a way of life. No racial or religious prejudices. A nation united to stand together through all times ...good and bad. This is not Japans first rodeo either. They have had this kind of devastation before and their was no looting then either. Conformity.
The Japanese do loot. After the evacuation of Miyakejima island south of Tokyo around 2000, after a volcano erupted, groups of thieves arrived in boats and used power shovels to remove ATMs and break into people's homes to steal valuables. The police had to post officers to the deserted island.
The Americans don't necessarily loot, either. After the flooding disaster that hit he midwest about 10-15 years, commemtators remarked on an absence of looting.
This Japanese are "an evolved race" stuff is nonsense, if not offensive.
You don't have to look to Japan as the only example of putting one morals values first. We have had homegrown examples here in the good old USA . I would like to know why so little attention was given to the catastrophic midwestern floods of 1993 and 2008? and the lack of lawlessness and looting that occurred.
Also there was very little attention given to how communities banned together prepared and after the floods started rebuilding without waiting on the government to bail them out. I think its a cultural and regional attitude lack of a sense of entitlement.
I am not too surprised..When I first heard of the way they serve and imbibe their favorite beverage, tea, with a cerrtain ceremony i knew that they were highly cultured. During the Vietnam War Bhuddist monks who were demonstrating against the war actually set themselves on fire! Besides, one of the tenets of Bhuddism is the belief that all humanity is One, and when you harm another you are atually harming yourself. How wonderfful that would be if it were the saame belief practiced in Christianity and islam. When the japanese were invaded by the Europeans they considered them 'uncivilized. If we as Christians would only follow Jesus' teachings..he said the best way to love Him is to love your fellow man.
There’s no looting in Japan for much the same reasons that there was little or no looting during the disastrous floods in Nashville flood of 2010 or the floods in the north central US in ’93, neither of which you mentioned in your editorial.
That just goes to show how our stereotypes and preconceptions influence what we can discuss.
Cultures which encourage self-reliance and self-responsibility are lionized, as in the case of Japan, or forgotten, as in the case of Nashville and the mid-West. But let there be blaming and rioting and we take that for the norm we’re better than or the aberration we can’t help.
I am so impressed with the Japanese culture – the pride, love and honor of each other, the respect and care given to the elderly just blows me away. Their ability to face adversity without rioting and looting is a lesson that should be taken away by all peoples. My heart breaks for their suffering as displayed on our tv's and internet – yet I am in AWE of how their HONOR shines through it all
Thank you for bringing this question up and thank you for answering it as you did, with the idea that, in the wake of a horrific disaster, the Japanese follow an instilled moral mandate to help theri fellows. Sadly, in the US there are looters – people who throw the towel in on their morals when the chips are down and opportunity knocks. The fact is that, the Japanese value morality, and it is an integral part of their lives.
Not so in the US, because, in the US morality is all but non-extant, so when people loot here, they are probably not thorwing in the towel on their morals because they don't have any to begin with.
US culture values money above all else. People don't immigrate to the US to have a better moral life- they come here to have a better chance at accruing wealth.
So, what is the genus of this lack of value of moraltiy? I rememebr the cover article of Life magazine in (1966?): "God is Dead". It was about the death of religion in our country. I am an agnostic, but, I think that there is lot to this idea that religion instills morality as a value itself. Someone or something has to! And, I think, if we did a little research, we would find that that's probably the genus of the death of morality in the US as well as God.
Here is a moral question that no one seems to be asking:
"How are the credit companies handling people's credit scores in this economic recession? Everyone in every economic status is affected by this "recession". So does everyone suddenly have bad credit? And, if the credit companies are assigning low ratings to everyone, including those with stellar credit histories, just because they have been late or struggling (perhaps for the first time!) how moral is that?
It is the culture, the national character, and their government. Knowing that your government will have an organized response, will care for you, and so will your fellow citizens, leads to calm.
In comparison, we in the U.S. have seen in recent history that our emergency response is, to put it mildly, inept, and removed from the reality of the people in need.
If you know help is coming, and that your government cares, that your government gets it, you will be far more patient and orderly than the poor souls abandoned for days in New Orleans. Even as "Brownie" was patted on the back for a job well done.
I sit here every night and watch this tradgedy in Japan. But I am so amazed at the people there. They are calm and helping each other. There is no looting or rioting no matter how bad it is or getting. If that was the US it would be a mess. Maybe the American people can learn something from this. God bless the Japanese people and Thank you for showing us how someone should act in a disaster like this.
In New Orleans our Government under President Bush failed to provide timely, emergent aid to what was/is overwhelmingly a socio-economically disadvantaged population, that was not the case in Japan and in fact the effort and generosity of our private citizens equaled that of the Japanese people, should not be lost in this discussion. All humans are resilient, but they are also products of their environment. I believe these variables are factors on the "human" or "humane" response. One might also look strongly to the majority of Japans people spiritually practicing Buddhism and the ritual of Shintoism as very key factors in their response to this horrific tragedy. I would encourage all to explore these things... And, especially not to make gross generalizations.
I mentioned this very thing to my mother yesterday. I told her that I have been watching news coverage since before the tsunami hit, right after the earthquake. I told her that I had not even heard the word "looting" even one time since the beginning of these tragedies. And until now, I haven't heard any mention of the word until you posed this question. It's evident that they are just a much more honorable, disciplined people than other cultures are. - Barbara
Japan has more money. You don't "loot" if you have everything you need. Also, for all of those who have selective memory about Katrina, everyone didn't "loot". People did help each other out. I find the choices of answers chosen to be put on TV a reflection of a racism that is simmering just below the surface of America. And "loot" is in quotations because it shouldn't be a crime to get clothing, and food when it all has been washed away.
The Japanese are held accountable for their individual actions and excuses for poor behavior are not accepted as justification for unlawful behavior.
Simply stated, racial homogeneity.
Because they are decent, honest, hard-working and honorable people - unlike some other countries - and yes, the U.S. is included. I totally agree with previous comments made here.
YOU ARE ASKING THE WRONG QUESTION, SHAME ON YOU. If you really don't know – we don't loot because it is wrong.
You should be asking – WHY DO PEOPLE LOOT? What triggers such antisocial, illegal and extreme behavior? Maybe it's resentment, inequity, bias, history? NO society is "superior" to another, and America will not cure any of its ills before it starts asking the right QUESTIONS, for gods' sake
It broke my heart to hear someone calling the people of New Orleans "scum bags" for their "looting". The looting in New Orleans was generally limited to food and water – and may I remind you that our government and FEMA sat OUTSIDE the city for days without supplying any water or food to the residents. People died from thirst. Not so the government of Japan. Some who can't be reached may die, but in New Orleans trucks loaded with water were not allowed to enter the city. Shame, shame for calling names when you were not there, or have forgotten just how bad Katrina was.
Many times as I watched television reporters talked about how little looting went on, and how it was limited to survival materials.
The Japanese abide by the cultural values that we Americans once had. Remember when President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."? We had it, and we lost it. Everyone in Japan does their best for the country because they know that everyone else is doing their best to carry their share of the load, unlike America, where unions and welfare encourage mediocrity and greed. Time for us to return to old time values and principles.
Here in America corporations will raise prices after a disaster to maximize profit!!
Perhaps they are trying to atone for past moral indignities. Have people forgotten about World War II already? Japan has improved as a society in the past seventy years, but they are hardly perfect. I applaud their ability to work in a more unified manner than say, the United States, and a lack of looting is such dire circumstances is laudable. They are up to the task of dealing with this emergency and rebuilding their cities. Let us all continue to hope that they can control the nuclear genie that threatens to poison large areas of their country.
try this analogy –
Many years ago, a worldly and insightful Japanese business executive offered me an analogy that gets to heart of the forces keeping the Japanese in line, that has nothing to do with culture. "Japanese people," he told me, "are like passengers on a cruise ship. They know that they are stuck with the same people around them for the foreseeable future, so they are polite, and behave in ways that don't make enemies, and keep everything on a friendly and gracious basis."
"Americans," he said, "are like ferryboat passengers. They know that at the end of a short voyage they will get off and may never see each other again. So if they push ahead of others to get off first, there are no real consequences to face. It is every man for himself."
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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