tehran vs. tokyo

17 10 2008

[By Shideh]   Tehran mayor, Mr. Qalibaf, has been trying to learn from and collaborate with other big cities in the world to improve Tehran in many ways.  I find his attempts promising and in the right direction: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=180227


Tehran can learn a great deal from Tokyo in terms of pollution reduction and earthquake safety.  Perhaps Japan is one of the few remaining nations that has not paid much attention to the US attempts to impose international sanctions on Iran – up to debate.  This is a great start for Qalibaf to attract Japanese investment and collaborate with the mayor of Tokyo to improve Tehran’s infrastructure.  However, an important part of the problem in Tehran and Iran in general is not related to technical expertise and lack of knowledge.  The main problem seems to be deeply rooted in social awareness and culture.  It takes a great number of local experts on the social psychology of Tehranians to solve the essential problems that are unique to Tehran and do not apply to Tokyo.  Japan in particular has a culture vastly different from those of Iranians and I hope that their solutions and policies will not be blindly applied to Tehran. Iran has a history of blindly following policies of developed nations to improve its system (i.e. education, infrastructure, architecture, city planning, etc.) and my impression is that these attempts have lead to disastrous results and confusion on our own social/cultural identity.




3 responses

20 10 2008

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27 10 2008
a friend from tokyo

I would argue that Tokyo has not contributed in the international sanctions on Tehran. As a person who is living in Tokyo, I would like to point out that Tokyo is always a pioneer in such actions to get the US’s attention (For example, Japan was the first country which significantly decreased its oil import from Iran before the UN’s sanctions). Mr. Qalibaf was visiting Tokyo as a Mayor which is not a political position here in Japan at all. Otherwise, he would not get a visa to enter Japan (a bit exaggerating)!
As you mentioned, our problem in Tehran is solely cultural, not technical. He was impressed to see such a clean city without having a section in the municipality to be in charge of. And the reason is again going back to their culture in which every one takes the appropriate responsibility.
Good luck with your research.

27 10 2008

Dear Tokyo friend,
Thanks for the great comment and for the insider info on Japan/Iran relations.
Sometimes I wonder if these visits are more of a show rather than actual solutions. It seems to me that Tehran needs to look more within and spend more energy on local research and studies toward implementing policies that make a difference for Tehran with its unique culture, history, and social complexities. Attracting foreign investment is good but only after these deeper problems are taken care of (in my opinion).

thank you for visiting our site and stay in touch,

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