[ Nippon Keidanren ] [ Journal ]
Messages from "Economic Trend", December 2004

The Establishment of Ethics and the Role of Communities

Kunio Takeda
Vice Chairman, Nippon Keidanren
Chairman and CEO, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

Everyday, there are media reports on scandals, incidents, political and economic crime as well as crime in society. Listening to nothing but bad news is quite depressing. The lack of ethics, imperceptibly widespread in Japan, seems to be caused by the misunderstanding of what individual freedom really means.

Needless to say, to keep society strong and vibrant, each individual and organization needs to be able to use their abilities to the utmost to accomplish things while adhering to rules, laws, and regulations. Their activities, however, should be based on their desire to contribute to the common good. As members of society, everyone can contribute to the common good simply by doing their job as well as by paying taxes, giving donations, volunteering for local community charity work, etc. Without these contributions, social freedom and fairness cannot be guaranteed.

If individuals support public improvement, the public, in turn, will support individuals. The individuals who are entering today's highly competitive society are not aware of this basic relationship, and the risk that they will insidiously go out of control due to an irresponsible and selfish idea of freedom appears to be increasing.

Looking back, there was an ethical basis in this country that centered on the relationship between society and the individual. For example, through their parents (and sometimes the community) children learned to help and not cause trouble each other; they were educated about morals at school and taught solidarity in local communities from an early age. In order to establish ethics, I think it essential to reexamine what needs to be done to strengthen and support the community role, which have greatly, and unnoticeably, diminished in importance.

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