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.
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.
Too bad more people did not watch the hearings. Congress,and especially LaHood, came across like utterly incompetent thugs.
"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.
If Inaba says something derogatory about William Shatner, we'll know what's what.