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What is the Asoh Defense?

 , updated on September 22, 2016
The Asoh Defense is a term for frank acceptance of blame when you're at fault. It is based on a story about a plane crash.
On November 22, 1968 Captain Kohei Asoh accidentally landed Japan Airlines Flight 2 in the ocean in the shallow waters of San Francisco Bay several kilometers short of the runway at San Francisco International Airport. The plane came to rest on the seabed and all the passengers were safely evacuated in lifeboats. The aircraft was eventually refurbished and put back into service at a cost of about $4 million USD.
When investigators asked Captain Asoh how the accident had occurred he said "As you Americans say, I f**ked up." There were several contributing factors to the accident that Captain Asoh could have used in his defense. The weather offered low visibility and low contrast between cloud cover and the water. The crew were using a new Instrument Landing System that Captain Asoh had never used before.
Captain Asoh's frank admission of guilt helped his case as he wasn't fired but merely demoted and sent for training. He continued to fly for Japan Airlines until his retirement.
The story of Captain Asoh and the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 2 is often used as a case study in business apologies. The story suggests that directly accepting blame may be more effective than using a series of excuses, even if they are valid.
Overview: Asoh Defense
Area
Definition
Frank acceptance of blame when something is essentially your fault.
Value
Earns more respect than the use of petty excuses or attempts to avoid blame altogether.
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