Monday, March 08, 2004

Business Morals

Bird flu is hitting Asia and damaging the major sector in the food industry, which had been on the verge of recovery after an earlier mad cow disease scare. One of the top players in the industry, Asada Nosan, which owns 6 chicken farms in Hyogo and Okayama, is at the center of a chicken flu scandal. Their chickens were suffering from the chicken flu and tens of thousands of birds had died from it. Asada Nosan didn't report the mysterious deaths for a few days, although chicken flu was already in the media everywhere. They insist they were planning to make a report, but the investigation came before they had a chance. Where the scandal comes in is that not only were they negligent in not reporting to the health authorities, but further they tried to sell most of their remaining live chickens and eggs as quickly as possible. It was found out, during the investigation, that some of the chicken and eggs made it to wholesalers and thus to the consumer markets.
Asada Nosan is guilty of a moral breach. Is this where Japanese business in general is headed? I assume they're afraid of causing a huge damage to their own business, but as a result, they ended up shutting down the firms and close the business. In addition, Kyoto Police is even thinking about pursuing the case in court. They're damaged not just business wise but socially. Hin sureba donsuru ("Poverty dulls the wit"). They sought easy money, without any hint of conscience. Consequently, the price they have to pay for this can be beyond their imagination.