Japanese cage wrestling

posted by Rainforest Action Network

I don’t actually know how cage wrestling works in the United States, not being a big fan of the World Wrestling Federation myself. But I think how it works is they set up a big cage in the ring and the object is to prevent your opponent from escaping, and whoever can escape first wins.

All too often, our corporate meetings feel like cage wrestling, in that the executives on the other side of the table are trying to escape, trying to do whatever they can to avoid responsibility. They’ll spend as much time as they can get away with elaborating on their deep environmental commitments; they’ll go off on tangents and long stories; they’ll speak in the most vague and ambiguous terms, ask dozens of seemingly pointless questions, etc. etc.

It’s the same here in Japan. It seems as though the language of corporate delay and obfuscation is a universal one. We’ve had a couple meetings so far, and they’re actually going pretty well, but it’s been a workout, a chess match, to keep these meetings focused and to hold each company accountable. We’re meeting with 6-7 corporations while we’re here, pushing them to make statements supporting forest protection in Tasmania, and to cut any business ties to the evil-doers at Gunns.

This is our first trip to Japan since launching our office in Tokyo late last year. While we’re here we’re also meeting with reps from other NGOs like Greenpeace, JATAN (Japan Tropical Forest Action Network) artists, and other allies.  We met with a few journalists as well yesterday, one a freelancer, and another from the Kyodo News Agency, which is like a Japanese version of the AP. Both interviews went quite well, and we should see articles in the coming weeks and months.

More details to come when we get back, but I thought it might be interesting to hear what we’re doing all the way over here.