This week, New York magazine published an article titled, “A lot of People Hate Japanese Auto Parts,” which focused on a few people who had a hard time accepting Japanese-made auto parts.
Here are five of the commenters: “I hate them because they don’t have any sort of real life use for them.
It’s so much more fun to play with the plastic ones.”
“I’d like to see them go back to the factory and make all their own parts.”
“Why would anyone use this?”
“I think they are the only ones who really want to make things.
I just want to be able to buy these cars that are so well made that I would be ashamed to buy anything else.”
“If you could see the way they make these cars, it would be pretty sad.”
It’s important to note that there are plenty of reasons people would dislike Japanese-manufactured parts, and many are not necessarily racist or anti-Semitic.
It might be the price tag, but it’s not a coincidence that the number of complaints against Japanese auto part companies has more than doubled in the past five years.
But some of the most outspoken critics of the auto parts industry don’t want to see it go away.
“I don’t think Japanese auto manufacturing should be part of any discussion,” says Michael P. Schmieder, a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, who studies the use of racist, anti-immigrant and anti-black slurs.
“This is not an American problem, it’s an Asian problem.
I don’t know if it’s a problem of a certain nationality or race, but I do think it’s something that should be addressed.”
In a survey, he found that more than half of people surveyed would consider it “appropriate” to refer to a Japanese-owned company as a “slave” or “factory” if they had one.
Schmalers’ research suggests that most people are uncomfortable with the idea of calling Japanese companies “slave factories,” even though they make more than 100 million cars in the U.S. alone.
In response to these concerns, some companies are offering Japanese-language support groups.
“We’ve got a lot of companies that are taking it upon themselves to do this kind of thing,” says Scott Bierman, executive director of the Automotive Industry Association, a trade group that represents Japanese automakers.
“They have been very responsive.
It was a lot more overt and explicit when we started a decade ago.
Now, there’s less of that.”
The Japanese auto industry also offers support to those who want to stop buying Japanese auto products, like American-based consumer advocacy group the Consumers Union.
“There’s a lot out there that’s saying this is a bad thing for consumers and they’re going to stop using Japanese cars,” says Biermans’ partner, James S. Greenstein, who runs the Consumer Union.
The U.K.-based consumer watchdog group Good Food, which works to protect food safety, says it has contacted the manufacturers of many of the cars it has found to have been unsafe.
But that’s not enough, says Good Food.
“The industry needs to stop pretending that it can keep making the cars that it’s making,” says Greenstein.
“It’s a big issue for people in the United States and it’s also an issue for Japan.
And the companies need to do something about it.”
That’s what’s needed to change, Greenstein says.
“These are not products that should exist in America.
These are not consumer goods.
They’re just not good.”
This article originally appeared on New York Mag.
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