Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 Year End Round Up

Trust.n 1 firm belief in the reliability,truth,ability,or strength of someone or something
Blind.Naive.By weight of office or years,I think it would be fair to say that many peoples trust was tested one way or another this year.
From January 11th,when Fujiya Co announced that it had used milk past its use by date in some of products it seems not a month has gone by when some food mislabelling scandal hasnt come to light involving a local Japanese company.Ironic really,when you consider concern over the safety of imported Chinese food products and people turning toward domestic produce amid these fears.
In June a meat processing company based in Hokkaido was found to have mixed pork into ground beef.
The fact that a company had some 300 years tradition behind it was also no guarantee as to the products.Akafuku Co was discovered to have falsified the production date of its red bean paste and mochi rice cakes.Apparently the practice had been going on for more than thirty years.Frozen Akafukumochi had been in some cases unfrozen,repackaged and sold with production and consume by dates moved back.
Another well-established confectioner Ishiya Co and restaurant operator Senba Kitcho were also found to have mislabelled food.

Trust.n.2 acceptance of the truth of a statement without proof
Some things you take for granted like getting paid or being able to get a pension or use services for which you have paid for.
In the case of Nova Corp,a leading chain of English language schools,employees and students trust was severely tested until the company filed for creditor protection on October 26th and shut its doors.This was despite a fax from Sahashi Nozomu the CEO the day before reassuring employees.."I will resolve the salary issue in a day or two as well as do my best to resolve the refunding problems by the end of the month".
As for pensions,problems serviced in April when the Social Insurance Agency stated it couldnt identify the holders of around 50 million accounts due to mistakes or lost records.It has since emerged earlier this month that about 19.5 million of those would be extremely difficult to identify.
Trust.n.3 the state of being responsible for someone or something
Various political scandals also highlighted breaches of public trust.Three different Ministers headed the Agriculture,Forestry and Fisheries Ministry and resigned over the year.Ties between politics and money,dubious use of office expenses led to two of the Ministers resigning while a third committed suicide.
Further problems also arose this year after a former Administrative Vice Defence Minister was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes from a defence contractor.

On the sporting front yokozuna Asashoryu also lost the trust of the public and the Japan Sumo Association.After opting out of a regional Japanese tour due to apparent injury he was filmed playing soccer in Mongolia.He was subsequently banned from the two next tournaments.He is due to make his comeback in the first tournament in January 2008.
It will be interesting to see how Asashoryu,politicians,bureaucrats and companies try to regain the trust and confidence they betrayed and lost this past year.

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