My company has extensive sales and service operations throughout Japan and many employees were impacted, some greatly and others just inconvenienced by the recent tragic earthquake and tsunami. Yet our operations kept flowing and the country is starting to dig out and re-build. I asked if anyone had seen or heard of others taking advantage of the situation, either by looting or price gouging. The common response with some degree of distain that I would even asked such a question was always “of course not”. People in Japan treat their fellow residents as human beings and with dignity and compassion and have reached out a helping hand to all in need. The Japanese people have a sense of culture, respect and social responsibility. This is confirmed by report after report of no looting or violence against others in the wake of the disaster.
Contrast that to what happened in the United States post hurricane Katrina and now post the ravages of the recent killer twisters in the mid west and south. I just read a story of wide ranging looting, price gouging and general lawlessness that some are inflicting on others in this time of need. While it is heartfelt to hear of the many accounts of neighbors helping neighbors and the generous donations by many Americans to various support charities, this is tarnished by the accounts of crime and thievery.
Until we as a people treat others in need with respect and dignity, it’s hard to think we are really a developed nation.