CK says Tokyo is "meticulously planned" ('Outside looking in', State of the State, #320). Actually, it's highly unplanned. It's mature and rich, and therefore well-managed. Let me also caution Lal that the bow and deep apologies on Tokyo's subways he's so impressed are mere custom, similar to the flurry of Irrasyamase (welcome) when one enters a Japanese shop. The Japanese do deserve applause for their public services though and, as Lal points out, the immigration officials are refreshingly well-mannered. As for the Nepalis here, as elsewhere, they are fragmented, mainly along political and ethnic lines.
As far as privatisation in Japan is concerned, it can't be compared to privatisation drives in other countries where the main reason is to combat deficits, low quality, or operational difficulties. The government here does not have many holdings, as in assets or businesses, to privatise, as Lal points out. Some public infrastructure, such as highways and the postal system, are large-scale privatisations already in process. Lifetime job security may be on the decline, but it does still exist.
. Your columnist is profoundly impressed by the Japanese. Obviously, he's unfamiliar with the deep-seated historic xenophobia of Japanese society. These 'Whites of Asia' can be pretty nasty to other Asians, not to mention black people.
. CK Lal should stop reviewing books. His review of Barbara Adam's book, ('Barbara beats around the bush', #320) comes to baseless conclusions. Is he still living in the glories of third world nationalism?