Just wish­ful think­ing that Ja­panese firms never let cus­tomers down


MORE COM­PA­NIES HAVE said that they have used prob­lem­atic alu­minum prod­ucts sup­plied by Kobe Steel, Ja­pan’s third-largest steel­maker, which con­fessed last week to a decade-long data fabri­ca­tion of some alu­minum and cop­per prod­ucts. Bei­jing News com­mented on Thurs­day:

Top au­tomak­ers in­clud­ing Toy­ota and Nis­san, de­fense con­trac­tors Mit­subishi Heavy In­dus­tries and Kawasaki Heavy In­dus­tries, and even Ja­pan’s bul­let trains, may have used Kobe Steel’s prob­lem­atic alu­minum prod­ucts.

Kobe Steel has at­tempted to con­vince cus­tomers that only some of its prod­ucts were sub­ject to data fabri­ca­tion and th­ese still meet safety stan­dards.

Although no safety problems have been con­firmed as­so­ci­ated with the prod­ucts in ques­tion, there are good rea­sons for con­cern.

It is just wish­ful think­ing that Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ers never let cus­tomers down or make mis­takes.

This is the most re­cent in a se­ries of scan­dals to hit Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ers in re­cent years. Mit­subishi Mo­tors was found fab­ri­cat­ing the fuel con­sump­tion data for some of its mod­els, Toshiba tam­pered with its profit re­ports and an apart­ment build­ing of the coun­try’s big­gest de­vel­oper Mit­sui Fu­dosan started to tilt eight years af­ter its com­ple­tion in 2007.

To win back pub­lic trust Ja­panese com­pa­nies must not try and make light of any flaws in their prod­ucts. The mud­dle-through ap­proach the scan­dal-hit com­pa­nies have adopted risks be­ing in­ter­preted as haughty and does no good to the im­age of Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ing.

The school, the first of its kind in Europe, is an epit­ome of the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the Chi­nese lan­guage around the world. Mas­ter­ing the Chi­nese lan­guage means ad­van­tages and op­por­tu­ni­ties in the job mar­ket and the busi­ness world, be­cause the Chi­nese com­pa­nies and projects re­lated to China are on the rise around the world.

A re­cent sur­vey by the Bri­tish Coun­cil, the United King­dom’s in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion for cul­tural re­la­tions and ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties, shows Chi­nese has be­come the lan­guage that Bri­tish par­ents want their chil­dren to learn most, and is con­sid­ered “the most use­ful lan­guage for the fu­ture”.

Sta­tis­tics from the Amer­i­can Coun­cils for In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion show the num­ber of stu­dents learn­ing Chi­nese at pri­mary and mid­dle schools in the US dou­bled between 2009 and 2015.

And sta­tis­tics show the num­ber of pri­mary and mid­dle school stu­dents learn­ing Chi­nese in France has quadru­pled over the past 10 years.

It is es­ti­mated that the num­ber of peo­ple learn­ing Chi­nese around the world has in­creased to 100 mil­lion from 30 mil­lion in 2004.

Be­hind the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of Chi­nese lan­guage learn­ing is the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity’s pos­i­tive at­ti­tude to­ward China’s fu­ture de­vel­op­ment, as well as the peo­ple’s long­ing to learn about the Chi­nese civ­i­liza­tion and cul­ture.

With the rise of China’s in­ter­na­tional in­flu­ence, the Chi­nese lan­guage will en­ter more class­rooms in for­eign coun­tries, help­ing young peo­ple around the world bet­ter un­der­stand the coun­try.

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