Japanese Reaction To The DC Kabuki: "Eeeh..."

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
japanese reaction to the dc kabuki eeeh

Japanese reaction to the kabuki dance is muted. From the Asahi Shimbun to the Mainichi Shimbun, all papers refrain from any criticism of either side. Except for the occasional “Japan-bashing” comments by readers, officially everybody is carefully sidestepping that trap. Just as Toyoda did during yesterday’s grilling on the hill, when he said that Toyota is being treated fairly in the U.S., contrary to what his wrenching gut said.

Japan’s transport minister Seiji Maehara was likewise diplomatic. He said Thursday he is satisfied with the testimony, reports the The Nikkei [sub]: “As a Japanese and U.S. company, I hope Toyota will ensure accountability and will make efforts to regain the trust of customers.”

The minister also avoided to comment whether some U.S. lawmakers are over-reacting to Toyota’s quality issues. When asked, he evaded the question and said that by his understanding, there is both criticism and support for Toyota in the U.S. Ehh ..

While watching the early morning CSPAN feed from Tokyo, Tomoko Schmitt, TTAC’s advisor on cross-cultural affairs, noted that Toyota made the wise choice of letting Akio Toyoda talk trough an interpreter, while the affable Yoshimi Inaba spoke English. The interpreter cushioned Toyoda from the sharpest blows and filtered-out long hesitations of her boss. The usual “answer the question, yes or no” just didn’t make it through the cushion. The translation helped ride out the 5 minute clock, and hid the many very long “ehhhhhhhh” that would have sounded really bad, would Akio Toyoda have been allowed to speak in English. The interpreter made Toyoda sound better than in his native language.

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  • CarPerson CarPerson on Feb 25, 2010

    Mr. Toyoda was asked directly if he felt Toyota was being unfairly treated by a government that had a large stake in two of the U.S. automakers. He quickley replied "No" without hesitation.

    • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Feb 25, 2010

      That was the only answer he could give. Would he have answered "yes," he would have been burned at that large stake. I'm glad he didn't take the bait. Remember when Inaba (correctly) tried to characterize the Corolla as "an American car" - that didn't go over too well. Should you ever end up in front of a hostile tribunal, the question "have you been treated well while in captivity?" will likely come up. I advise you to answer in the affirmative. If you won't, it will be hell back in the hole.

  • VLAD VLAD on Feb 25, 2010

    Too bad more people did not watch the hearings. Congress,and especially LaHood, came across like utterly incompetent thugs.

    • Werewolf34 Werewolf34 on Feb 25, 2010

      Agreed. If people actually saw the way their representatives behave, I'm pretty some of them would actually get voted out of office. As for me I vote with my wallet. I look forward to negotiating hard for my new Toyota / Lexus

  • Nick Nick on Feb 25, 2010

    "Honestly, I think we’ll see more and more electronic gremlins raise their head as manufacturers rely on robotic controls across all of their vehicles." I have to confess, that does make me nervous. The one I dislike the most, that I will avoid for as long as possible, is electric steering. No thanks. That being said, I am skeptical about a lot of the anecdotal stories. I mean, ever see the video of the women who drives over two cars in her SUV, in a parking lot? That's the gym I go to, btw! Anyway, I can just imagine the fairy tale she could weave. One thing, has anyone ever tested these automotive systems against gamma rays from space? That's my latest theory.

    • JeremyR JeremyR on Feb 25, 2010

      I think you might be on to something, there. Or perhaps it's the micro black holes or strange matter emitted from the Large Hadron Collider. And they haven't even turned it up to "11" yet...

  • Nick Nick on Feb 25, 2010

    If Inaba says something derogatory about William Shatner, we'll know what's what.