How a country makes progress

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Soulveda

In August 1945, the United States of America dropped two atom bombs on Japan reducing two of its major cities to ruins. Strangely enough, the Japanese seem to bear no grudge against the Americans, for, they say, it had only reacted to Japan’s violence in the arena of war. The responsibility, therefore, needs to be shared by each side. This realistic attitude on the part of the Japanese has seen them through all kinds of adversity and brought them to extraordinary heights of progress in modern times.

Both the big industrial cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bustling with life, became enormous areas of devastation in a matter of minutes. Yet these cities have now been built up once again with wide streets, spacious houses, parks, and gardens, all of which has a modern look. Only one ruined building has been left as it was, in order to remind one of the grim punishment meted out to them during the Second World War.

When Khushwant Singh visited Japan, he learnt—much to his astonishment—that the Japanese do not exploit the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in order to discredit the U.S.A. It is other nations, on the contrary, who have exploited the same events for this purpose. When Singh asked the reason behind this attitude, a Japanese replied in a surprisingly calm tone: “We hit them first at Pearl Harbour. We killed a lot of them. They warned us of what they were going to do, but we thought they were only bluffing. They beat us fair and square. We were quits, and now we are friends.” (The Hindustan Times, April 4, 1981).

By virtue of such temperament, the Japanese have scaled such great heights of progress in a very short span of time. They own neither petrol resources nor mineral wealth, most of their raw materials having to be imported. Keeping all these drawbacks in view, it is most amazing that they have dominated world markets. This is mainly owing to the superior quality of their goods.

Khushwant Singh also enquired about the prospects of the legal profession there. He was told that it was not a flourishing business. The reason being the fact that the Japanese preferred settling disputes on their own to suing in the courts. Willingness to admit faults by each party is the surest way to bring quarrels to an end. It is only when either party seeks to place the whole blame on the other side that the quarrel takes a turn for the worse. Whereas the very gesture of shouldering the blame softens up the other side, with the result that the dispute dies a natural death.

This realistic attitude has greatly benefited the Japanese in many respects. For instance, this makes them place their trust in one another. They thus save the time and money they would otherwise expend on lengthy legal documents. Most of the commercial institutions trust in verbal understandings. Formerly it was practiced only among Japanese, but now foreign investors have also started to take advantage of this practice. Avoidance of unnecessary legal obligations invariably speeds up the work.

Essentially, such an outlook gives rise to unity. It is undoubtedly the greatest force that contributes to the success of a nation. In the words of an expert of Japanese affairs, the secret of Japan’s success lies in: “Never quarrelling amongst themselves, always doing everything together.” (The Hindustan Times, April 4, 1981).