Never sympathetic to the U.S. car industry in the best of times, Japanese public opinion is heaping on the patronizing ridicule after General Motors followed Chrysler into Chapter 11.
To many, America's biggest industrial bankruptcy is definitive proof -- if any more were needed -- that the American business model is broken. Whether blaming American workers, management or engineering, opinion in Japan largely agrees that the companies had it coming.
"The fall of a gigantic company that claimed 'What is good for GM is good for America' signifies the end of the American model that led manufacturing industry in the 20th century," the Nihon Keizai, Japan's version of The Wall Street Journal, said after GM's filing.
Shoichiro Irimajiri, former head of Honda of America Manufacturing, voiced the unspoken subtext: It would never have come to this if the Japanese were in charge.
"Perhaps the ones who can fix it are not Fiat nor Magna, but Japanese managers and engineers," Irimajiri said in a Nikkei Sangyo business daily story headlined "GM: Paying for Its Neglect."
The Nihon Keizai concurred: "If they used the Japanese-style business practice of cutting costs with a unified labor and management, the situation wouldn't have deteriorated to this extent."