Re: Looking back over my life and business in the United States (4) March 18, 2022

What I never forget in my life in the United States was the existence of Mr. Larry Sadayasu, a second-generation Japanese-American born in Hawaii, an acquaintance before my visit to the United States (He already passed away). The person just mentioned was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team which was organized by the United States Army during World War Ⅱ and composed almost entirely of Japanese-Americans, and he was sent to fight on the cruel European front. It is handed down that the said unit fought bravely resulting in many casualties, in order to show its royalty to the nation as American citizens.

Even now, a hate crime against Asian people is happening frequently by various reasons in the United States. Before my generation, it seems that Japanese was treated severely simply because Japan was considered as the former enemy. We have to remember that in the background of good relationship between Japan and the United States at present there were our senior’s sacrifice, hardship and frustrated thoughts on injustice.

I learned various things in relation to the United States from Larry. I also learned dirty words in English which I think Japanese had better not to use. And I have happy memories for “The 21 Club” located at 21 West 52nd Street that Japanese not easily went to in those days, and drinks at the bar and meals at “Windows on the World”, a restaurant on the top floor (the 107th floor) of the North Tower of World Trade Center (WTC). The top floor of WTC was at 411 meters above the ground, and under my eyes there was the Statue of Liberty. In those

days, my office was located at 666 5th Avenue in the Midtown, and I tried to brush up my English ability by “One for the road” with local employees frequently at the bar called “Top of the Sixes” on the top floor of the building. Near my office, there were St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and the head store of Tiffany & Co.. And Central Park was also within walking distance and “The Dakota” where John Lennon was shot dead was next to the park.

By the way, the first thing I had to do after my transfer in June 1978 was to apply and get “Social Security Number” equal to “My Number” in Japan. In the United States, a lot of steps such as driving license, housing, telephone, electricity, gas, opening the bank account and so on can not be done without this number. In other words, we can not live without this number. The United States is strict in privacy, but this system started in November 1936 more than 80 years ago. At present, this number is issued to the whole nation including a child and all foreign workers. As long as I live, my number is linked with the United States government wherever I am in the world.

On the other hand, in Japan, issuing my number card started in 2016. However, acquisition rate is still about 40 %. At this rate digitization is not on track. This difference between Japan and the United States, for example, caused an obvious difference in the speed of payment of coronavirus relief benefits. According to IMD (International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland), digital competitive strength in Japan ranks the 28th among 64 countries in total, and is subordinate to Singapore, China, and Korea among Asian countries.

Incidentally, it is said that digital technology replaces every information such as numeral, letter, picture, voice, and so on with “0” and “1”. An English sentence consists of the 26 letters of alphabet and numerals. On the other hand, in Japan, Chinese character, Japanese cursive syllabary, katakana, Roman character, numeral and in addition Japanese calendar and the Christian Era are mixed. And Chinese character has several pronunciations by character, and is very complicated. In a digital age, input of basic data should be done by simple way as much as possible.

In addition, when I worked in the United States, there were no social security agreement between Japan and the United States, and representatives paid the pension premiums in both countries. Therefore, in my case, pension from the United States government has been paid every month since I was 65 years old, based on my social security number. Both private and public sectors in Japan have to hurry up the digital transformation in order not to keep up with the global trend of digitalization.

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