Posted by: John Elliott | August 28, 2012

O.Suzuki explores India’s Maruti troubles – and recalls a Japan war crimes tribunal


NEARLY six weeks after the Suzuki-Maruti car factory near the Indian capital of Delhi was attacked by over 1,000 workers and a senior manager was killed, the company says that it has not yet been able to establish the reason for the sudden and unexpected violence.

Osamu Suzuki (below), the 82-year-old chairman of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corporation, which controls the Indian company, is currently visiting India and said on Sunday evening that “the cause is not clear to us”. Most chief executives would not be content to admit such a lack of knowledge so long after an outbreak of serious labour unrest, but this is neither a conventional nor stable area………..

…………..Mr Suzuki sought to demonstrate his respect for India and its legal system with the story of Radha Benode Pal, an Indian judge known for his anti-colonial nationalist views and one of eleven jurists on the post-war International Military Tribunal for the Far East who dissented from a guilty verdict for Japan’s top wartime leaders……………

For the full article “Suzuki’s labour troubles in India”, go to The Economist’s Business and Management blog, Schumpeter, by clicking here A routine meeting turned violent


And for more on modern Japan’s fascination with the strange story of Judge Pal, who drew parallels between Japanese and British colonisation, see this 2007 story in the New York TimesDecades After War Trials, Japan Still Honors a Dissenting Judge .

“All people of Mr Suzuki’s age recall Pal with gratitude as he restored a sense of self esteem in the national psyche badly gored by accusations of acts of barbarity in China and elsewhere,” says Aftab Seth, a former Indian ambassador to Japan  and a professor at Japan’s oldest university of Keio. “Many of those accusations were well grounded in fact, but the average Japanese civilian did not feel responsible in any way”.


  1. There are more than 20 comments on The Economist‘s Schumpeter business blog where the full article appears –
    Here are two of the early ones

    Vijaynayer 15 mins ago

    Economic disparity has always been the root causes of miltant aggression. Add the discouraging indifferences of the governing and you have a visious mix which can be very lethal. The employed feels he is disadvantaged and the employer do not exercise caution to curtail dissatisfaction. The atmosphere becomes volatile and smallest spark can reach insurmountable damages, Pity, we cannot blame anybody!

    Cloudwarrior 38 mins ago

    Wow with all of India’s problems this is just what it doesn’t need.

    “The picture emerging is that of a young impressionable workforce with an average age of only 25. It was vulnerable to outside influences from political and other groups wanting to create unrest. Neither the shop floor managers nor the trade union officials appear to have had sufficient experience to handle industrial relations crises.”

    So the Indian government or education system can’t even prepare its own workforce for industrialisation.

    Is it any wonder that China has leapfrogged India in so many ways and continues to do so. They’ve had decades to prepare.

    India isn’t even the runner up any longer…. it is now falling further and further down the pack while countries like Colombia and Indonesia zoom past the limping elephant that is modern India.

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