Sansei (literally ‘three reflections’) in the name of the well-known Japanese publishing
company Sanseido is said to come from teachings in the Analects of Confucius that one
should reflect on his or her actions three times a day. ‘Reflect’ here means broadly the same as
‘see’ in the ‘plan, do, see’ ideal management action pattern. However, this see (reflect) part to
which a third of one’s energy and time should be devoted, sometimes seems to be neglected
in Japan. When reflection is neglected, archiving has little meaning.
A typical example of neglected reflection is the fact that no records were kept of Japanese
government meetings dealing with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident last
year. Records of an incident must be kept if we are to reflect on it, but records are not kept
due to a lack of recognition that leads to an inability to argue the foolish question of ‘what good
are they?’ Management ability is demonstrated by keeping records, making use of them on
future occasions, and understanding lessons learned. In other words, records must be kept
rigorously and made good use of.
We see no overall trend to keep records on transport following the Great East Japan
Earthquake. The process from disaster through to restoration needs to be recorded in a
comprehensive manner. However, I have not heard of the central government, which should
take the lead naturally, instructing local governments and transport operators to keep records.
The details regarding damage that changed from moment to moment in particular need to
be recorded to the best degree possible. This cannot be put off until recovery is completed.
People’s memories fade and documents go missing. Record keeping is an urgent issue, and
it must be done in parallel with recovery projects. We bear the responsibility of passing down
to the next generation the lesson materials we have now.