AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Transparency

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, January 29, 2011

HERE’s an interesting website that I discovered by accident: Transparency International, which defines itself as a global coalition against corruption. They have compiled what they call a Corruption Perceptions Index, and offer these details:

Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This definition encompasses corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors. The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries according to the perception of corruption in the public sector. The CPI is an aggregate indicator that combines different sources of information about corruption, making it possible to compare countries.

The 2010 CPI draws on different assessments and business opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions. It captures information about the administrative and political aspects of corruption. Broadly speaking, the surveys and assessments used to compile the index include questions relating to bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.

Japan is ranked 17th worldwide, with a score of 7.8. That’s just behind Germany’s 7.9 and just ahead of the UK’s 7.6. It is higher than the U.S. in 22nd place with a score of 7.1 and France in 23rd with 6.8.

The only entities in Asia to score higher are Hong Kong and Singapore. With the exception of Germany, all the higher-ranked countries have a significantly smaller population. Also, all the Scandinavian countries, Germany, and Austria are ranked higher.

Meanwhile, South Korea is at #39 and China is at #78. They are given a different color than Japan on the color-coded chart of rankings. Russia, which is also in the same neighborhood–#154.

Corruption, or an aversion to it, is one aspect of a willingness to conduct interpersonal relations with honesty.

Yet, when people outside Northeast Asia observe disputes that arise within Northeast Asia–the content of which they know little or nothing–their views are often tinged with a suspicion toward Japan and a lack of interest in examining the credibility of the other parties’ claims. They seem willing to assume that an unpleasant historical chapter of perhaps 30 to 35 years’ duration that ended more than 65 years ago is the metric by which the country should be judged in its international relations.

A curious phenomenon.

7 Responses to “Transparency”

  1. Magus said

    There’s a word for that curious phenomenon: it’s called “racism.”

    And it’s not going to go away significantly until either (God forbid) another atrocity happens to replace it or “certain northeast Asian countries” become sufficiently industrialized and democratized as to no longer have a need for government- and culturally-encouraged inferiority complexes and tons of nationalistic and exceptionalistic foreign policies.

  2. toadold said

    Multiple articles on corruption are pretty much a daily thing in the Korean English news sites that I follow. It show up frequently in the entertainment media also. Every editorial cartoon seems to be about that. Korea is still a work in progress on that aspect of government.
    Also on previous topics about Korea vs. Japanese relationships. One of the reason I throw my charity nickel toward South Korea is the experiences my relatives in the military have had there over the decades. During the Korean War years we were short jet fighters but we still had P-51’s in relatively large numbers. A relative of mine was not in that unit but one unit that he knew of had some US officers but most of the pilots were Korean whose flight experience came from flying Zeros during WW II. The P-51 were fast but they had a higher wing loading than the Zero and one poor guy forgot that in the heat of a ground attack. He stalled out and augered in. There was a book and a movie about a US pilot who flew P-51’s in WW-II, became a minister and then went back to war a P-51 pilot. They were using them for ground attack mostly. While the P-51 was an excellent fighter the P-47 would have been a better plane for that but they had pretty much scrapped them out. The liguid cooled enging and long radiator linses on the P-51 made them vulnurable to ground fire. So when you went down low to strafe, rocket, and bomb you wanted to do it as fast as possible. He was in one of the mixed units. Well the US Pilot did a straffing run on some people crossing a river, it wasn’t a military column though it was Korean refugees, men, women, and children. The movie had a somewhat sanitized scene of that with bodies falling into the water.
    In reality those .50 slugs don’t just make neat holes in people, they turn people into pieces and parts, blood and guts. The Koreans were less upset that he was from what I heard.

  3. Tony said

    Yeah you’re right and as galling as it is to see, we should keep in mind that this also happens among non-Northeast Asian countries dealing with each other as well as among the Northeast Asian countries when dealing with each other. It’s called stereotyping.

  4. slim said

    “Yet, when people outside Northeast Asia observe disputes that arise within Northeast Asia–the content of which they know little or nothing–their views are often tinged with a suspicion toward Japan and a lack of interest in examining the credibility of the other parties’ claims. They seem willing to assume that an unpleasant historical chapter of perhaps 30 to 35 years’ duration that ended more than 65 years ago is the metric by which the country should be judged in its international relations.”

    This is absurd, Ampo. The main and (once the old British exPOWs that fuel tabloid sensationalism in the UK die off) increasingly only entities that beat Japan up over its war record ARE its NE Asian neighbors. Even South Korea is starting to grow out of that habit, leaving China and North Korea. Unless you are referring to that ChiCom propagandist at Asia Times (Peter Lee), I’m hard-pressed to think of any serious Western observer who places PRC or DPRK credibility over that of Japan’s on any current issue.
    ———-
    S: Well, you did qualify that with “serious” (g). But seriously, I see it still in all sorts of places on the net. I also didn’t say “over”, but rather “a lack of interest” in examining competing claims. The latest example was the incident in the Senkakus, with Nicholas Kristoff in the NYTimes. There was also a fabulously stupid and unintentionally hilarious blog post in The Economist in Britain last year about how the holiday Ocean Day in Japan is actually an example of virulent nationalism on the march.

    – A.

  5. Aceface said

    “It’s called stereotyping.”

    At least here in Japan,you get criticized for over-simplified stereotyping.Can’t say the same in other part of East Asia.

    “The main and (once the old British exPOWs that fuel tabloid sensationalism in the UK die off)”

    Well,the exPOWs may pass within a decade,but their spirit lives.I don’t think tabloid sensationalism in the UK never dies regarding Japan and the war.
    Anybody read comments coming from (presumably)Britons regarding the recent Steven Fry skit over A-bomb?

    “only entities that beat Japan up over its war record ARE its NE Asian neighbors”

    That sounds logic.I don’t see any reasons why Africans or Latin Americans feeling any resentements over the so-called Great East Asian Wars started by the Japanese.

    “Even South Korea is starting to grow out of that habit”

    I don’t see that happening at all.And to tell you the truth,I think it would be much easier for Japan to reach reconcilliation with the Chinese than Koreans.

  6. Tony said

    Instead of saying “at least here in Japan you get criticized for over-simplified stereotyping” you might want to rephrase that to “at most here in Japan you get criticized…”

  7. Fat Tony said

    As I suspected, the author of that Marine Day post got his/her information from Alexis Dudden’s book. In the book, it was an interesting, if perhaps exaggerated point that sat alongside examples of nationalism in other countries, such Korea’s Dokdo mania. The book itself was a light, breezy affair – certainly not a heavy academic text – but quite interesting nonetheless. And it tars Japan, Korea and even the United States with the same brush. I gather the Economist blogger read the first few pages.

    But then:

    “True to form, my Tokyo neighbour, whose chauffeur happens to wear a bowler hat and drives a London cab, has put up the hinomaru national flag by his garage.”

    Oh yes, chauffeurs, London cabs, bowler hats and a normal Japanese person who owns a hinomaru for a special occasion. This writer clearly lives in a neighbourhood where the “real” Japan comes out.

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