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Corporate Accountability and Apologies

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Corporate Accountability and Apologies

The simple phrase “I’m sorry” administered at the right moment can quell the greatest of fires. Different cultures call for apologies for different situations and with the widespread call for corporate accountability and violent crime rates in the U.S constantly rising the culture of apology found in Japan may be a key ingredient to a more complex recipe.

A comparison of violence between the U.S. and Japan will yield some startling statistics.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the population density of Japan in 2008 was 836 people
square mile nearly 10 times higher than the density in the United States. That same year there
were .5 homicides per 100,000 people in Japan, 636 for the year. The total number of homicides
in the U.S. for 2008 was 15,976 which was 2500% higher than in Japan. Assault statistics for
both nations are also grossly divided. Japan had approximately 59,932 assaults for 2008 where as
in the U.S. the number was 834,885, nearly 14 times higher. Japan’s success in every category of
criminality save for traffic offenses, is that it has seen year on year decline since the end of
World War II (Haley). Apologies are instrumental in every step of the criminal process in Japan,
even in mediation (Wagatsuma and Rosett 428).

A situation in Japan which would normally dictate a direct apology would, in the US,
result in faceless excuse not aimed at rectifying the action, but deflecting the blame away from
the transgressor. Consider this: at McDonald’s you reach for the ketchup at the same time as

another customer causing that customer to draw their hand back. In Japan this situation calls for
an immediate apology from the wrongdoer. For t...

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Wachtel, Kate. "Morgan Stanley CEO Calls for More Regulation of Wall Street at Vanity Fair-
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Wagatsuma, Hiroshi, and Arthur Rosett. "The Implications of Apology: Law and Culture in
Japan and the United States." Law & Society Review 20.4 (1986): 461-98. JSTOR. Web.
13 Jan. 2011. .

"The World Factbook." Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 19 Dec. 2010.

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