Toyota President's Careful Bow

The length and depth of a bow speaks volumes in Japan, and Toyota President Akio Toyoda's respectful dip is being dissected for its meaning in the wake of the company's admission of serious safety issues with its vehicles. Toyoda's bow at a news conference on Thursday was short, only about a second, and according to the L.A. Times, a longer one might have been viewed as an admission of guilt in lawsuits over Toyota's vehicles. Previous CEOs have bowed publicly to atone for their company's failings in Japan, including Katsuhiko Kawasoe, the former president of Mitsubishi, who apologized for a cover-up of defective cars that led to fatalities over two decades. A group of executives at a drug firm in 1996 that accidentally gave AIDS-contaminated blood to hemophiliacs fell to their knees and lowered their foreheads to the floor before families of the victims.