"The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them, if they'd follow the Japanese model and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things -- resign, or go commit suicide."
-- Sen. Charles Grassley, on AIG execs
This quote is all over the place, and based on what I have heard so far, people are completely missing the point.
Granted, the Senator probably could have made his reference to Japanese culture a little more tactfully, but more than that I think he needed to make it a little more clearly.
The reference is to the high value placed on integrity and honor, and shame is taken very seriously. It’s an ancient code.
Given the magnitude of the personal greed and betrayal of public trust, the resulting shame is sufficient to warrant apology and resignation at the very least, and according to the ancient Japanese code, seppuku is not out of the question. The suggestion only seems ridiculous by isolationist American standards.
People need to take responsibility for their actions rather than continuing to work the system to avoid consequences.
One might argue that hearing such a recommendation from a politician is the epitome of irony, but that’s a debate for another day.