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Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank

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think tank should rethink...Japan is already no longer rich or it will be much earlier than 2050 !

10 ( +16 / -7 )

Think tank...hopefully its not the geezers who run the place. Been here off and on for 15 years and must confess the country has taken a nose dive. They need to wake up. Singapore is a nice example. Let the barbarians I mean foreigners in.... Ironically Woodford is the next story... I often see AKB TANK every ten feet and ten seconds and think....we're screwed if it came down to teenage girls lap syncing...

11 ( +13 / -2 )

What they've stated here is quite obvious actually. It's not only that Japan's economy is doing poorly, but rather, other economies are emerging, at a faster, more explosive rate. India, China, Vietnam, are finally opening up and embracing globalization on a much larger scale than say 20 years ago.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I've always thought Japan was a flash in the pan. Shame. This happens to other countries as well, they grow big on trade, and then destroy themselves through meddling governments. Much of Japan's "boom," and the whole idea of Japan Inc. was based on heavy money printing by the central bank to artificially lower the yen to increase exports. Furthermore, the government heavily subsidized industry with taxpayer money to make them more globally competitive. That kind of model simply can't last. And now it's all falling apart.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Japan may survive only by investing in other growing asian countries. There is an opinion that Japan will be able to solve the economic and work force problems by increasing the population whch includes more immigrants. But, I think Japan already achieved the high level of economic standard and to raise it further may be difficult even by increasing population. By increasing population, we may become even poorer.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Japan must re think it's future, sorry but the whole world knows Sony, Panasonic, Toyota, Nissan etc..this country ain't know flash in a pan, just now the economy has been stuck in reverse for about 20 years and the Chinese, Indians are in warp speed catching up and in some cases surpassing Japan, but Japan will over come all of these problems.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

So Japan is heading down, and the only ways to stem it are to allow women an equal footing in the workforce and bring in immigrants. What a dilemma! The irony would kill me if it wasnt actually so serious!

17 ( +21 / -5 )

My J-wife says she's ok with a smaller Japan. In fact, she said she's ok if the whole place goes under and all J-folk have disappeared off the face of the earth. She's not the only one who feels this way; many think if they can't have it their way, then the heck with it.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

If the size and quality of accommodation is anything to go by, I don't think it's so rich now. There are so many places that look like slums, people living in houses that would be laughed at or condemned in other countries, and ugly power lines everywhere. Drive down many streets with an overseas electrician and wait for how long it is before they start hyperventilating.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

CapnSinbad, my Japanese wife is as infuriated as yours, but she still loves Japan and wants it to grow (...up, as I'd joke). But not by ignoring facts, pretending everything's ok and going on as usual (which got Japan into trouble in the first place). She wants Japan to change along with the rest of the world. I love her for that, although I'd personally move forward with or without Japan.

Japanese have got to stop thinking that blinking LED lights and everything natural concreted up would have anything to do with development or wealth. And to stop ignoring those who have seen more.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@CapnSinbad Very good observation. I have heard similar comments from other Japanese. Better go down than embrace change. But the problem is that Japan won't get simply "smaller", it might go down to levels that people who were growing up during the bubble years will not be able to tolerate. What will the Japanese do with their time once conspicuous consumerism is out of the question?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japanese youths today care more about stability and securities than exploration of new things, inventions, etc. You can't be a leader in economy if you base it on inventions/innovations of your grand fathers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Everyone already knows this, but no one wants to admit it.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Import more labor and open the country to greater foreign business and investment. Why doesn't anyone ever offer up this common sense solution?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

C.Sinbad,

Your experiencing what I often refer to as the very fatalistic attitudes of both business & the population.........

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan needs to recycle themselves. They are too conservative, they choose seniority over meritocracy. Nothing goes forward with the old mind, old ideas.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

These estimates are wildly optomistic if the last 2 decades ways are going to continue.............

Without MASSIVE re-invention I predict a very drastic drop in the number of babies being born, LOTS more companies leaving Japan, the pension, health systems ALREADY either broken or under tremendous strain, WILL FAIL in the not to distant future.

The wealth & growth experienced in the 70-80s was primarily due to favorable exchange rates & then Japan was kind of a mystery place, IT NO LONGER IS, the rest of the world understands Japan much better & what Japan got away with in the 70-80s ISNT going to happen again.

Right now the govt & J-inc are eating the country alive from the inside out!

Without a wholesale re-invention Japan I predict will be in for a lot of pain a lot sooner than this ""thinktank"" thinks!

Keep your life rafts ready!!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

and the government is doing what to stop this? Nothing because they don't want the country overrun by young people and getting the establishment killed out of power.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yasukuni, ossharu toori! I've read that the reason for not burying power lines lies in "unusually moist soil of Japan" (an excuse to go with "foreign made skiis are no good in Japan because Japanese snow is different"). Then Marunouchi district of Tokyo that managed to bury it's power lines must not reside in Japanese soil, but who's to embarass bureaucrats by mentioning that (Ooh! Pick me! Pick me! Meee!!).

I was also disappointed that i.e. Kyoto turned out to be the ugliest city I've ever seen. Save for a few individual buildings (as is the case everywhere), Tokyo also cannot compete with the beauty and majesty of many Asian metropolises.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan might need a immigration overhaul. There is an increasing realization that demographic patterns are going to change and Japan needs younger population. More local communities know that there is no other alternative, and in the major cities they already have migrant communities and their knowledge of multiculturalism is growing. There is a perception in Japan that they often cause crime is not based on reality and official crime figures confirm that. This image is manipulated. Still this is Japan, the criticism of foreign workers points to a loss of national culture, social instability and the burden of unemployed migrants. If Japan Goverment can see beyond that, they might still have competitive future, the Japan immigation policies must change.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Import more labor and open the country to greater foreign business and investment. Why doesn't anyone ever offer up this common sense solution?

A lot of people might jump on my back for saying this but.........as you may have noticed, there is the problem of xenophobia in this country. Japan is still reaping the psychological effects of the 'closed-doors' policy to the West. I think the fact that the country shut its doors to the outside world until the Meiji Restoration has made the people indelibly very insular (although this is changing). Insular people feel that they can solve everything by themselves and sometimes this is true. Not so sure about in a globalized world though. Japan is starting to get left behind which I don't like to see because I love this country.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The think tank seem to confuse total GDP with GDP per person. It doesn't matter if total GDP is lower than that of China or India as the GDP per person is far higher. That said, it is clear that Japan has been in a state of long-term decline for many years with salaries falling, taxes increasing and a government debt that keeps on growing. It seems that nothing can change this: people keep voting for the same old crooks and the bureaucracy carries on regardless. Even after towns are destroyed by tsunami or evacuated following nuclear disaster the bureaucracy remains intact, following without deviation the same path to ruin as before.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It is going to be a hungry country if it doesn't get control of the development of rice fields. Look at the Osaka to Kobe area for an example. This is serious.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Disappointing. I think I remember, maybe 10 years ago, being a teen and watching NHK about the declining birthrate. It's like a rollercoaster that never stops the downhill surge. What can be done about that? Encouraging birth with stimulus or cheaper daycare is a start, but seems like a tall order to get it back up without immigration big-time.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

thats what i keep saying sell the japanese yen. all you people living in tokyo will burn! time to leave japan and get back dirt cheap when u get older.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I think Japanese are out of the world, women should be having children, not working...you work if you wish or need to, not just to raise economic figures!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

SO WHAT??? hear me out first okay? but does it really matter or change anything? If you have a job here here, not really? if not, then go back home. What I am saying is some ranking on the ecomic list does not really mean anything. China is number 2 and Japan is number 3. But honestly did that make you want to leave Japan and move to China? India will soon pass up Japan as well in the couple years. I dont know about you, but I have no desire to live in Japan or China. Japan is beauftiul country regarudless of how much cash it owes or has in the bank. Ask you self why did you come here in the first place. Why have you stayed. Japan is a comfertabl country to live in. It is safe. sure there are things we all hate about itm, but I can say the say about my home country. It is safe. The people, while they may not know the defeniftion of fun, are still kind at heart. My point is, cash, dept, ecomic ranking, is not giong to change the things as I love about Japan and have choosen to stay here for the forseabble future. As long as I have a job and can support my family, then I will probably stay. There are plenty of great places to live in the world that are not ecomic power houses. How many of you come from the EU or UK or Australia? well... they are not 1, 2, or 3 on the list, but I am pretty sure those places are just fine to live in and raise a family and enjoy life. Yeah. I feel bad that I will not see at many GTRs and NSX and Lambos running around Tokyo and Osaka. and so what if Japan can afford to build Super Sky Tree 2 one day. The cherry blossoms will still bloom and look amazing, the moutains will still be snow capped 7 months of the year, and I will still love riding my motorcycle across this magestic country every summer. I was never build a skyscapper or be a CEO of mega electronics comglmerate and I doubgt most you were either. So really this only effects the the super rich. There will always be jobs for everywhere, once things level out and they will. I love the USA but not crazy abuot Al queda ramming a airplane up my %%% or a gangters car jacking me and shooting me in the face. #1 econmy does not equal happines. any one with any sense should know money does buy happines. Maybe once japan looses its money and wealth they will actully find happines for the first time its histroy and enjoy life.

3 ( +17 / -14 )

" dont know about you, but I have no desire to live in Japan or China." whoops should be India or china

-3 ( +11 / -14 )

sorry for the zillion typos. "does buy happines" does NOT buy. there are more but i hope you get the point I was trying to make.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Japan has a great infrastructure, but its running costs are just to high to be sustainable for the long term.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I warned them...and guess what, it might be as poor as Northern India which in turn can cause social degradation and the break up of the country into independent republics from our existing prefectures.

Remember what happened to the Soviet Union on December 25th, 1991 and it's likely to happen in Japan, as some rumours could be linking that Okinawa can have an autonomy of its own (Japan will be losing them)

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

So China has "passed" Japan, big deal! They have over 10 times the population. India as well has over 10 times the population. Bringing immigrants into Japan without restraint will only make things worse. I say let Japan fall to a population of 50 to 60 million. To the foreigners who dislike Japan, leave. Not long ago I was at the Honda dealer and this guy came up to me and said "I hate Oklahoma". This is not the first time and as he was potty talking Oklahoma, I asked him "why do you stay?", If you do not like it "why don't you go back to Texas"? At this point he noticed being surrounded by angry Oklahoma people. I told him "this is a nice state with nice people and to go home to the Texas paradise." Look Japan is just going to be a regular country, big corps making big profits does not make a nice place to live.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

Or they could just make English an official language, relax visa conditions for foreign professionals (much like Australia, Canada, the U.S., and every other developed country), and relax trade barriers. These steps are much more likely than Japan changing generations of gender roles.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Well, it seems that many comments here support the immigration influx in order to cope with this problem. Even though this is a solution that Japan should consider to some extent, one should not forget the severe problems that arrive with massive migration. Keep in mind that Western multicultural countries had to spend decades of active social movements, unrest, racism, increase of criminality, etc, until they finally managed to successfully integrate immigrants. And we are not talking about countries such as Japan, with its own unique culture and mentality, but about countries that built their identity based on immigrants. Some of them still face problems with illegal immigration and far-right wing political parties are getting more and more popular among the natives.

So, it is crucial to understand that massive immigration is not always the solution to anything. We should also keep in mind that Japan is not Singapore or Hong Kong in any case.

Another major factor that we should consider is the preservation of Japanese culture. Yes, I know it sounds a little bit funny and awkward for a foreigner to worrying about such a thing, but personally, I love Japanese culture and I want to see it preserved. And I am not talking about these AKB and anime stuff, but about traditional Japanese culture that already is disappearing and retaining only its mainstream elements. I know that I sound like a conservative 80 years old Ojisan, but issues like immigration need extra attention and should be handled carefully. I have personally seen the example of my country and I am scared that something similar is going to happen in Japan.

What should Japan do then? Give motives to young couples to stay home and have more children. Provide generous benefits to young mothers. Create laws that will enforce companies to give extra days off or additional payment to young mothers. Create a more efficient child care agencies. Undoubtedly, there are ways to tackle this issue even without immigration. Some countries have done it and Japan should follow their example.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Robert and others. You are right the ranking is not what matters. But debt and poverty does matter.

600% would leave Japan worst off than Greece is now with a currency worth next to nothing and yet still dependent upon imported food to survive. This would be catestrophic and take the 17% of Japanese who live in poverty and turn that in to 50% or more.

Weak currency means inability to import things. With almost nothing significant produced here, shortages and hardship follow.

Inability to compete for labor, largely due to language issues, would render Japan unable to take the place of other low cost labor centers in Asia. Meaning the loss of first tier industry would leave a void that lower tiers could not fill. Then drive povertry up even more.

So does the ranking matter? Not as a number or as a fashion. But what it actually means in terms of economic reality on the ground. That means impact to jobs, poverty levels, labor value, food and product costs, currency value and much much more.

To dismiss this is to overlook a long list of very real dangers to anything you interpret to be life in Japan today. It would be profoundly changed.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I think Japan has managed to maintain it's wages, costings at a good standard in a constantly growing economy , of cheap, and lower wages. Japan wont be that quick to sink.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Many posters urging Japan to increase the immigration. It is irresponsible and unrealistic. The more people come here, the more infrastructure, employment opportunities, waste managment and ferrile land space required. Japan is the most natural disaster prone nation on the earth which surrounded by volcanoes. If there are more people, inevitably many more will die when the disasters strike. Even beloved Fujiyama was an active volcano in the history.

Japan lacks the natural resources and fertile land. Japan has low birth rate due to high cost of living. Japan has the longest life expetency in the world. Thanks to strong Yen, Japan is feeding the residents with imported food from Australia, China and Canada. If the economy is weaker, they Yen will be weaker too. Japan will be no longer efford to import the food from Oversea. Not only Japan is declining at the moment. Many advanced economy like Europe and North America too. Japan has huge debt which are owed to local citizens. Not to foreigners. Japanese banks are cash rich because of the strong saving culture. It is better than nations which are heavily indebted to foreigners.

Economic growth likes a cycle. When the economy is matured and peaked, it will be declined anyway. No nation can sustain the prospertity and economic growth forever. China and India which have vast land and huge population are exception. They have more time and more resources for sustaining their growth. Competing with that two nations are harder than competing with rest of the world.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Japan is much more resilient than most posters here realize. Similar to what I thought back in the 80's when the sky was falling on the USA and her future was supposed to be nothing but doom and gloom.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

illsayit. But Japan has had her exports to assure that standard of living. That is no longer the case as foreign companies are outpacing Japanese manufacturers and production jobs are fleeing overseas even for Japanese producers.

It is pure denial to think that this can be maintained in a debt strapped second tier economy.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Not unique to Japan. Western Europe is heading the same way with economies flatlining. As for people suggesting that large-scale immigration will fix it, the UK has tried that and still faces the same two key problems: economic stagnation and increasing debt.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

t-it all depends on the industry youre talking about, doesnt it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan is just fine. These sorts of chicken little reports are simply lining for the kitty litter bin. Keidanren members want to bring in more cheap labour, so they advocate such policies and try to put fear into people by saying "Japan is doomed unless we do ..." I'm not buying their garbage.

These sorts of projections also assume complete political and social harmony in China, India and Vietnam.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I thought that Japan is already a poor country. Look at 1000 trillions money of debts making it bankrupted potentially. Japan can't support money to poorer countries and some kind of organizations.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan's poverty rate is at a record high of 16% in 2011. 1 in 3 women in Japan aged between 20 and 64 who live alone are living in poverty. Japan's population fell 259,000 in 2011 this is the most it has ever fallen in a year in Japanese History. the number of people aged 65 or higher is at the highest ever at 23.3 percent, 3% more then the second most in the world Germany at 20%.

People can't hide their heads in the sand on this problem and say Japan will still great place just smaller...... As it gets small the economy will get smaller, smaller economy= Less jobs+ More Poverty. More People over 65= more taxes on younger workforce to carry the load. Higher Taxes = less reasons for companies to have Factories in Japan. Less Factories= Less jobs+ More Poverty and it goes down and down from 1st world to 3rd world.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I think you all are a bunch of Japan haters. I think that is all it comes down to. I say that money does by happiness and that the ecomic ranking of a country does not magicly make it a good place to live and I get 10 thumbs down. It like you WANT japan to fail. why should I be supporsied. most of the people who visit and comment on this site either openly or dont even realize they hate Japan. if you all think so poorley of this country then WHAT THE $$$$ are you still doing here????

17 ( +32 / -15 )

Japan has to come to grips with the fact that it will no longer be a major player on the world stage. The country has little if any natural resources and has to outsource it's manufacturing base because employee wages and benefits are tearing corporations apart.

Public debt is staggering, and across the board the standard of living has decreased dramatically since I first came here in the mid-80's.

The shrinking of the population overall is not a bad thing really, as it will eventually ease the strain on the public expenditures.

However as I see it pride is going to get in the way of common sense and reality.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan's population fell 259,000 in 2011 this is the most it has ever fallen in a year in Japanese History.

That figure is skewed by 10% or so due to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Yes the population decreased, however in the overall scheme of things that is not a bad thing for a country that has to rely so much on imports.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yeh yeh yeh. my japanese wife loves japan too, but now she has a US passport. juuuuuuuust in case. i advised her that she needed a way out when she's on a slowly sinking ship. and she listed.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I had a discussion with a friend who is doing a masters in economy because I didnt understand what the debt is all about. To put it simply, he told me the government has borrowed money from japanese ppl to spend it on building the nation. Unfortunately they should have not spend extravagantly with borrowed money and now having trouble paying the money back including interest?

Now the government has to increase tax to pay back the debt. This debt is strangling the young generation just to pay their grandparents money-plus-interest?. Increase in tax will even make life more expensive and families will become even smaller with less children and the problem is further amplified.

I know it is too simplified so to speak because im not an economist and i may still misunderstand. But if I am correct, seems to me the government should not have been too ambitious in extravagant/wasteful projects and now that it is getting out of hand, all the old japanese that owe money from the gov should get their money back with the actual amount. If the grannies care for their grandchildren why cant the money be repaid back without interest and save the trouble of their descendants? This is not how things NORMALLY work in business but if they could agree wouldnt it be great?? The old generation has experienced and benefitted from the infrastructure which their money was used too all these years. It will be a win-win situation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan could avert this crisis is more women went back to work...and yet, one of the main causes of this crisis is a low birthrate--go figure.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

blackpassenger--can't say much for the US either...record number giving up their US citizenship: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2131225/Record-number-American-citizens-renouncing-citizenship-avoid-paying-taxes.html

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yukio Hatoyama was elcted to put the family first, encourage the birthrate, cut down on waste and change the political landscape.

Actually no he wasn't elected to the PM position for these reasons. He was elected to be PM by his cronies. Which is a huge part of the problem with politicians here. Make the PM a position that is chosen by a general election and see how fast these idiots change their spots.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan will be a nice place to live even if it goes down from 2nd to 4th richest nation. Even at that level it will be richer than most nations. Not that this relative perspective is comfortable. But I can't see politicians and Japan Inc. doing something drastic to change that.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

robert, respectfully, that is a silly comment. In case you missed the KEY point of this article, this is a Japanese think-tank predicting Japan's downfall. So the folks agreeing are not "Japan bashing" at all, they are just supporting what Japan's largest business federation is predicting. And telling them to leave is just what Japan does not need. Japan cannot be prosperous in the future without foreign investment and increased immigration.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

RDykes

Its not that we hate Japan(although I think I can say most hate the politicians/beaurocrates!), quite the opposite actually!

And yes if Japan was JUST going down in ranking we wouldnt care much if things were being run well, BUT Japan is not simply going down ranks on some list, there is a hell of a lot more happening(or more often NOT happening!). Pls go back & read Tkoind2's post, povery is increasing FAST, the cost of servicing old folks is going to be brutal, with fewer workers they WONT be able to pay for it.

And if the J-population were to decrease some gradually it cud be dealt with but the 65+ bracket is set to skyrocket!

The reason many here are ticked off(me included) is because for decades the govt DID NOTHING!, At present they are doing NOTHING & its getting worse & worse at a quicker pace.

And as a 2+ decade PR with a wife, home, small business, a dog, 2cats & lots of other stuff IT MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL that the powers that be DO NOTHING & are only worried that Japan will drop in rank on some GDP chart, that's fracked up BIGTIME, so yeah I admit it bothers me with all I have invested here, damned right!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This article reminds me of Greg Easterbrooks Law of Doomsday saying: Predict catastrophes not soon enough to terrify but long enough for people to forget if you’re wrong.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The bigger part of Japan’s female population is “sleeping.” If they start working and paying taxes, the necessity to increase the immigrant flows may not be so imminent. And money however will stay in Japan, not be sent back to the families of the immigrants living in their native countries (given that the situation does not change – the largest numbers of foreign workers in Japan are of people from other Asian countries coming to Japan to “kasegu” for their families back home.)

And it is indeed possible to have both a stable birthrate and working female population, should the society, politicians and companies realize that with some concerted effort such goals could be achieved. There is nothing wrong with the idea of women working and having/raising children at the same time?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

There is nothing wrong with the idea of women working and having/raising children at the same time?

There is to many Japanese corporations. Traditional work environments like nursing and teaching have adjusted well to having women take maternity leave however other sectors are WAY behind.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@JaneM

The bigger part of Japan’s female population is “sleeping.” If they start working and paying taxes, the necessity to increase the immigrant flows may not be so imminent. And money however will stay in Japan, not be sent back to the families of the immigrants living in their native countries (given that the situation does not change – the largest numbers of foreign workers in Japan are of people from other Asian countries coming to Japan to “kasegu” for their families back home.)

You are 50 / 50 here IMO.

You are absolutely right. Women here need to get off the couch and start working. Most just want to stay home and watch the 1pm movie every or have lunch with friends. They're not doing much for society.

You are wrong about immigrants. Money is not flowing back to their home countries as you imagine. At every turn in their lives there's someone from the bureaucracy taxing them. It's not the grand system you imagine it to be.

But as you said, women are just sleeping and they do very little for the wonderful life they have. All the Louis Vuitton bags and trips to Hakone with just the girls. What a good life.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I still cannot understand why Japan considers itself a rich country when they hold the world's largest foreign debt. Also, in recent years many of the major Japanese companies have either folded, downsized dramatically or taken their operations overseas.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It is the responsibility of people to make elected officials accountable for their actions by criticizing the country when things are not heading in the right direction. You don't have to agree with everything the government of Japan does in order to love Japan. Criticism of the government is Loving Japan b/c you care enough to say something and do something about it. Putting your head in the sand and waiting to see what happens never works, but if everyone who read this told 2 people and they told 2 people and so on..... this would be the Major issue of the government...... rather then Tokyo trying to get joint ownerships of an island.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

But many here still believe that they are the wealthiest around. In reality, right down near the bottom. Hard to accept the facts, I know.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Modern society thinks that year on year growth is the key to a utopian society, it is obviously not. The systmem needs to change and adapt to anew way of living. Oil and gas reserves do not last forever, tecnological advances should make us happier than ever but we are all worrying about the future.

We have the tech to all work less but we must have more new things and the governements say spend, spend spend! We ahve here people saying taht the women with kids should work, iot seems to be implied it is their duty. No doubt it will also be a duty to work until death and possibly low achieving and poor/or poor kids put to menial jobs instead of going to high school.Why shouldnt they? So what if they feel like robots and live mostly moserable live. Japan as does the rest of the developed world, needs to change what is important in life otherways the downward spiral continues.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Really? Japan becomes a developing nation? Will folks be clip-clopping around on getas while Zatoichi and Mito Komon wander the streets administering justice? The size of the national economy is meaningless if the quality of life is crap. Who cares if China is the world's largest economy, they still have 1,338,299,512 mouths to feed. Probably more by the time I hit the "submit" button. China has a handful of billionaires and a zillion hungry, uneducated people toiling away in polluted cities and factories for a fraction of what is needed to provide a reasonable quality of life worthy of a so-called developed nation. And since this Keidanren is run by the same couple-three dozen corporations that presided over Japan's growing income gap, and the dismantling of the lifetime employment pact between workers and companies.. I doubt this group's conclusions and motivations. Japan's CEO-to-Worker pay ratio is still better than the US's, but there are too many Japanese workers were reduced to part-time status, freeters. Japan is in a lot of trouble following the disasters, but threats from the people who are supposed to be fixing things (isn't the private sector supposed to be more able than government? LOL) are not what is needed. Japan needs another Shinji Sogo.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Netninja I can't believe some of the stuff you sprout, I really can't.

You are absolutely right. Women here need to get off the couch and start working. Most just want to stay home and watch the 1pm movie every or have lunch with friends. They're not doing much for society.

You obviously live in Japan, so I don't see how you can't know how patriarchal the Japanese working/corporate culture is and how badly stacked against women the system is. The gender wage gap in Japan is more than twice the OECD average. Women in career management positions constitute a whopping 3%. Yet the percentage of women making it to higher learning is more than men. The United Nations puts Japanese gender inequality at 57th of 109 countries. The World Economic Froum has it at 91st of 128 countries. The idea that Japanese women are simply lazy is offensive and completely disingenuous.

I think that it appears that Japan is going to go through stages of contraction with a falling population, a stagnant economy and a very, very conservative mindset about investment (at a household level) partly due to the fallout of the collapse of the bubble economy. But the Japanese are smart, dedicated and proud people, so whilst the true boomtimes may be a thing of the past, Japan is far from becoming an economic basketcase.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I almost feel like it would be a good thing for Japan that it become less wealthy. For a country to be wealthy shouldn't be the priority of a people, but to live "happy and productive" lives is to me what's really important. Japan really gets some basics right. I mean where else can one walk down the street and not have to worry about being mugged and or harassed? I work in retail and see how common shrink is done by employees and customers, but because Japan has such a high trust culture they don't have to pay such costs in security and surveillance. Here in the US I need to pay a premium for living in a "safe" place where in Japan it is standard to live in a safe place. Personally I would say I don't really care that Japan is not an economic power. Who's to say that someday the USA wouldn't fall from being the number one economy anyways. For being such a small country and being the number two economy of the world for so long is a pretty amazing thing.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Immigration is the only way to save this country. Take a look at Europe. They all enjoy the benefits of massive immigration. European far-right wing political parties also agrees. Japan is a sad country, every time I visit Paris I see how great it is to have immigrants from all over the world. Girls with burqa on the streets, romanian beggars, romanians playing music on the subway. French suburbs are so great with all those jobless immigrants, living on welfare with 3 or 5 kids, at night you can also enjoy to see middle-eastern and afghan people sleeping in public parks. Immigration is the only solution. Japan would enjoy to see more mosque in their cities.

European people can confirm that immigrants help great when it comes about having kids...and drawing welfare. Come on Japan! Open your doors.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I think Japan is doing great compared to North Korea.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@Robert "I think you all are a bunch of Japan haters."

Japan's true friends won't try to cover up the economic, social and political realities that the country is facing if it fails to change, and change soon. To live in denial is what is making Japan weak in the first place. Complacency, failure to change, to act in her own best interests and to be decisive are what is dragging this country down.

If Japan wants to take care of her people, and since 1/2 of my family are Japanese, I certainly want to see Japan do so, then it needs to face reality not hide from it or ignore it.

Sometimes loving someone or a country means being hard on them! And it is time that those of us who really care about Japan stopped apologizing for its failures and started kicking in the behind to get it moving in the right direction.

Japan can and should be great again. But it will only happen if Japan is willing to change. The alternative is the unnecessary decline of the nation into poverty.

Still think I am a hater? Wake up and face reality if you care about Japan's welfare.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

By 2050, if Japan isnt floating; all bets are on to try and guess who will be afloat.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan Gal Haiti may be doing well compared to North Korea, but would you want to live there?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I hope that by 2050 nobody is calculating GDP anymore. The world is doomed if we don't give up the ridiculous "growth is good forever" mentality.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yukio Hatoyama was elected in a general election by people knowing he was the leader of the DPJ (therefore knowing he would be Prime Minister)

Japan does not elect it's PM's in a national general election. He was voted in from Hokkaido's 9th district and won only a LOCAL election. PM's are elected via the party which controls the lower house of Parliament. He was elected leader of the DJP after his crony friend Ozawa resigned. He previously was the leader of the DJP from I think it was 99' to 2002 but had to resign due to scandal, he became the leader again after the previous mentioned Ozawa's resignation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is nothing wrong with the idea of women working and having/raising children at the same time? There isn't. Though is you look at another thread about the population issue from a few days ago, some posters (western females no less) seem to think that mom belongs at home. Sadly, many others in this country think the same. Working moms are selfish, bad and why on earth did they want to have kids in the first place if they don't want the 'joys" of staying home...

I don't think this is shocking news to anyone with a clue. Japan has been stuck in limbo now for over 20 years and it isn't getting better. To be honest, I think "by 2050" is being rather kind. I'm wondering though, if being a developed nation, would that make the cost of living cheaper???

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I say that money does by happiness and that the ecomic ranking of a country does not magicly make it a good place to live and I get 10 thumbs down.

If that is the case, then why does Japan always rank far below many other poorer nations out there?? And yes, the old "you hate Japan" for pointing out the obvious. Bravo! Very original.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Japan has doomed and gloomed because of the management and structure is not entirely true. Many JT posters blamed due to the low immigration, low birth rate, xenophobia and discrimination. They are out of touch with hatred and frustration. Reading JT post like watching movies Submersion of Japan and Sinking of Japan. There were some exaggeration with biased mentality. As Zenpun Apr. 20, 2012 - 11:12AM JST said no nation sustain the economic growth and prosperity forever. It is a cycle of rise and fall of nations like Roman empire, Mongol empire and British empire.

Japanese Inc like Sharp and Sony hired many western CEO before. In the reality, they made company poorer and less competitive. Their management style and mentality are not related to the real world. Japan opened the many foreign expatiates not only professional but also unskilled aged care staff. On the contrary to Japan, China and India used more local talents and more rigid management. They are more successful and competitive.

If japan currency exchange rate is partly controlled like China or Rep of Korea, Japanese export will be more competitive in the international market. Their labor market is more flexible and adaptable to changing nature of business. Natural disasters destroyed not only Japan but also Japan oversea production base like Thailand. Japan is expensive for business therefore it is less attractive for investment. Not only about cost it is risky for natural disasters. Market has matured therefore there will be less demand for goods and service.

Japan need to learn from Germany which is very competitive in exports. Germany is using Euro which made their export cheaper than before. They high skilled labour force and they are also flexible and adaptable. Structure and Industry policy changes are inevitable. There are more need to be done for female participation of workforce. Back in 1970s, Japan shifted economy from energy dependent sector such as ship building and chemical products into consumer electronic and smaller cars. It was wildly successful and GDP has doubled.

Japan needs to find the new strategy and policy for fixing the economic downturn.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

It is a cycle of rise and fall of nations like Roman empire, Mongol empire and British empire. I don't think you can compare empires that rules the world for centuries/decades with Japan. Japan has NEVER ruled the world (not for lack of trying though) and certainly won't ever if they continue to go the way they are going.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This will happen world-wide, until business operates on very small profit margins and excellent salaries for workers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan has been in long-term decline since the early 90s, and as baby boomers come to retirement, this will accelerate. It does not mean Japan will be poor, just more ordinary.

Of course every major country that has played catch will have to peak at or around the level of the other major players. Japan caught up with the West, but never surpassed it in any meaningful sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@almxx

This will happen world-wide, until business operates on very small profit margins and excellent salaries for workers.

No it will happen until governments stop overspending and putting countries into debt by spending beyond the means of their revenue intake. It doesn't work; never has.

And until people stop expecting a free, government-provided ride. It doesn't exist.

If you spend more every month then your paycheck, how long can you go? You can only borrow other people's money for so long, until they cut you off. Governments are no different, they just think that they are. But eventually the credit cards are maxed and the bills come in.

To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, the problem with big-government-spending-programs is that eventually you run out of other people's money.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Athletes.

I think that the points raised by the foreigners here are very valid. Most of us work in big international business and we are fully aware of why money is going to Singapore, Mumbai and Manila instead of Japan. This is reality my friend and Japan has imposed this loss on themselves. And if it wants to change this, it must radically change immigration, discrimination, taxation and other key issues that are the motivating factors for companies looking past Japan and putting their money into other Asian countries.

I know many Japanese fail to see this, but this is reality and it is inescapable.

Second, China's control over her currency is not viable long term. Nor would such a solution work for Japan. Japan's economy has to evolve before her future can brighten. Currency control would not help that.

As for natural disasters, with many major cities around the world subject to natural disasters, this plays very little role in Japan. It is clearly the cost of doing business here and the restrictive nature of the country that cripple foreign investment in Japan.

In fact, these same factors cripple local small business as well. The cost of running a business here keeps many from kicking off small companies that could very well be the next generation of Japan's prosperity. This is self destructive.

It is cleary arguable that foreign CEOs have been limited by local intransigence over necessary changes as much as their presence has.

You suggest that Japan should follow Germany. In terms of flexibility and adaptability of labor and industry, I agree 100%. But again these are key problems in Japan that the current economic culture does not resolve. Japan if anything is inflexible and incapable of quick adaptation that would help the country recover. 20 years on, where is this flexibility and adaptablity?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

One more note. You did not address one of the most important factors. And that is politics.

Japan's goverment has been mired in selfinterest for two decades. Both the LDP and DPJ have failed to do anything to resolve key issues preventing Japan from attracting jobs, talent and investment. Meanwhile it continues to bleed money in waste and graft at the expense of the future of the country.

Japan needs political reform starting with a purge of the old guard of political gentry and replace it with people who are more open minded, more globally savy and ready to do what is required to restart the country's economic heart.

Instead Japanese politics is a circus of infighting and counter productive policies that fail the people of this country.

Japanese need to stop being so complacent about their own welfare and become active in politics and in the economy to demand the kinds of changes that the country needs to survive.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Patrick "And until people stop expecting a free, government-provided ride. It doesn't exist. "

This is largely Libertarian propaganda and has very little foundation in reality. You are right about spending and right about needing to cut back. But this cannot happen independent of other signficant changes.

Without social welfare you create other problems that cost just as much to address. The solution to social welfare is to have an economic model that enables everyone to work, to be trained where required and to be able to contribute. Without this you will always have a percentage that fall through capitalism's gaps.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@tkoind2

Japanese need to stop being so complacent about their own welfare and become active in politics and in the economy to demand the kinds of changes that the country needs to survive.

Agree completely, but Japanese society seems to create a borg-like mentality of complacency. Until they start to having more appreciation for 'individuality', and stop trying to hammer down every nail that sticks up, that is not likely to change.

I've been amazed at how passively Japanese except the fact that they really don't have many (if any) truly enforceable rights. The Japanese legal system is a farce, applied arbitrarily for the benefit of the bureaucracies - generally at the expense of the citizens.

I've been advising companies in my industry to avoid Japan... until Japan decides to reform (if they ever do).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yet I still don't see Japan making the right decisions, in fact they consistently make all the wrong decisions like voting for Hashimoto.

Japan would rather destroy itself than let women and foreigners be as equals. I guess Japan will self-destruct, then.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@tkoind2

Without this you will always have a percentage that fall through capitalism's gaps.

You have that problem with every system - some percentage falling through the cracks. No system is perfect, so you have to pick your poison, so to speak.

But I agree, any effective solution will require multiple, significant changes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a load of old crap! - THINK TANK what? - We are already Bankrupt.. or don't they know that yet. 2050?? What the hell are those blokes on about? Wake up and get a life.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Robert Dykes, I really like Japan. I would like it if it were the Number 1 economy or 200th. And believe it or not, I didn't come here to make money, so money isn't a big thing for me.

But, I don't want to see Japan totally crash because I LIKE Japanese. I also feel bad that so many young people have given up on marriage, having kids, and have no hope for the future.

It saddens me because I think Japanese are super intelligent and they could turn things around. Plus it's frustrating because I've been here when Japan thought they were on top of the world, but immediately accused people of "Japan bashing" if they pointed out the fundamental dangers, and what lay ahead. And now it's all happening.

But as Yuri says, maybe it's okay for Japan's population to be halved. As long as they have really top people in charge who can steer things well.

But most people just commented that Japan is already "not rich". That doesn't equal hating Japan.

But I agree with the sentiment that if you hate a country you may as well leave.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Michael Woodford seems available right now. Perhaps the Keidanren can find a job for him?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan would rather destroy itself than let women and foreigners be as equals. I guess Japan will self-destruct, then.

I wouldn't use the future tense. They ARE self destructing!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

thokind2 Apr. 20, 2012 - 04:54PM JST

Most of us work in big international business and we are fully aware of why money is going to Singapore, Mumbai and Manila instead of Japan.

Singapore is advanced economy like Japan. Many business relocated to Singapore even the cost are higher than neighbors. It is a hub of transport and logistic. It has very in transport business. They also have good legal and financial regulation. Singapore growth is driven by grouping with Pan Asians markets. However Singapore is losing the competitiveness to other nations too. Mumbai is representing the population of more than 1 billion people. India needs a lot of infrastructure and urbanization. On the contrary, Japan market has matured and over development will create another property speculation. It will be another nightmare of real estate. Manila is very risky destination. Government is less efficient and corrupted. Many highly educated Fillipinos prefer to work as cleaner in Japan than unemployed or under employed in their homeland. Japan is relatively safe, orderly and clean for them comparing with their homeland.

If the economy has developed, there will be less growth and high cost. If there are less growth and high cost, investors will find the greener land. It can be called as capital flight . US have lost many blue collar works and most will never come back to states.

Instead Japanese politics is a circus of infighting and counter productive policies that fail the people of this country.

Taiwanese politicians are MMA fighters in parliament. However Taiwanese firm Foxcomm is bargain shopping in Japan. They bought many shares of Sharp recently. Entrepreneurs created employment, prosperity and market. Politicians have limited influence in economic success. Japan has changed many prime ministers like changing shirts. It has created instability and confusion. Singapore was ruled by same party for more than half century. Their prime minister terms are higher than Japan. Their GDP, employment and national saving is higher than most of the western nations.

Japanese need to stop being so complacent about their own welfare and become active in politics and in the economy to demand the kinds of changes that the country needs to survive.

Politicians will give a lot of sweet promise to voters. The reason is winning the election. However they have no money to pay for it and they will sell national assets for keeping their promises. For the successful economy, less politics is better than more politics.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Don't worry .... 'kizuna' and AKB will save us ! (Sarcasm mode off)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

thokind2 Apr. 20, 2012 - 04:54PM JST

One more thing as you said.

As for natural disasters, with many major cities around the world subject to natural disasters, this plays very little role in Japan. It is clearly the cost of doing business here and the restrictive nature of the country that cripple foreign investment in Japan.

After the last year disaster, Tourism industry has never recovered. Thailand and Indonesia got Tsunami like Japan. before. However they have not got nuclear radiation like Japan. Tourists are still going there. People have confidence to eat their food and buy their vegetables. Some Asian nations have restricted Japanese food and agricultural export before. Therefore natural disasters negative impact of economy is worse in Japan than rest of the world. It is the most disasters prone nation on the earth which is surrounded by volcanoes. As a investor, it is a high risk geographic. It is a prolong problem for building the confidence for tourists and business.

As a nation without resources and limited land, the growth can not be sustained forever. If there is no growth, there is no investors. Not only Japan is losing the business and investments. Europe and North America too. Land, labor and regulation are more expensive for business. Economy is a cycle. When it is peaked, it will be declined. It will be reinvented and developed. It will be boom and burst.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Robert Dykes... I totally agree with you, nice words.

I'm not living in Japan now, but plan it for so many years, so maybe some more years to go. My wife is japanese, very southbound, a real great place to live. Clearly not everything is golden in Japan, as in every other country. Nationalism and Racism, yah, spread all over the world, not only in Nippon. Still I never faced any bad situation while I stayed in Japan. I can't say too many bad things about the country, but about many western places I used to be before.

Never can imagine to live in China or India, too. No places of mine. These countries are now getting through the whole process of the bubbling economy with all the side-effects. Life there is only about making money. It's clear, Japan has a problem with it's economy and probably the think tanks outlook will become true. But I'm sure at the same time, there will be many other countries in the world with equal problems. My only wish for Japan is to open it's immigration policy a bit. I don't support too much immigration, it will make things worser, as seen in so many other countries in the world (my homecountry has almost 30% foreigners).

All in all, there are things to scrutinize in Japan, but still... it's the place I will die (if possible :)...

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This article is a bit silly, and so are a lot of the comments. Japan's population is shrinking, and will continue to do so, so it's GDP is quite likely to shrink too. Luxembourg's economy, or Norway's, are tiny compared with Japan or China, but it doesn't mean they're not rich.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Save for a few individual buildings (as is the case everywhere), Tokyo also cannot compete with the beauty and majesty of many Asian metropolises.

It can certainly compete with the ones I've been to: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Manila, Singapore, Bangkok, Seoul, or Pusan. They're all about as ugly as each other, and most are as crippled with problems as Tokyo, though not necessarily the same problems.

And on visual appeal alone, none of these places can compare with a halfway attractive European capital - but nor would the larger cities of North America.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Japan's GDP will fall behind India"

About time! India has over a billion people. Japan has, what, 130 million?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It is all because of government and Bank of Japan's poor macro economic policy. They have kept deflation 20years and look what happened. Our nominal GDP is same as 20years ago. It is obvious that our lost 20 years stem from deflation. Noda, however, doesn't understand anything about macro economy so he believes whatever government bureaucrats say. Thus, he commits his life to consumption tax hike.

We must revise bank of japan law immediately and have them commit to 2% inflation like other developed country! I really want Your party to gain more legislative seats in the next election as they have been saying that this is their No1 priority policy in their party.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To me, for the moment the article does not seem to be a prognostic warning but largely a part of efforts to create a mood of public opinion in favor of sales tax hike and participation in TPP. I sometimes wonder if Keidanren (along with Nikkei) is affiliated with or a lower branch of IMF and the U.S. Department of State.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The rise of China is the demise of Japan!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is definately a bad news to the people of Japan, you know Chinese hatred of Japanese will last until future generations and Japan downgraded to be a third world country will be very vulnerable to her hostile neighbours! Japan's future is dark and her fate will be worsening if any further natural disaster! Japan cant overcome all those shortcomings that undermine their country because Japan shall never accepting immigrants and fprwign investment but a country stick with their rigid 'breaucracy' run by those politicians!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The rise of China is not only the demise of Japan, it is the demise of middle class people worldwide. It is clear that the whole world can not live by Western living standards.

I think that by 2050 only few small countries (like Luxembourg, Singapore, etc) are considered "rich".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think that in the near future, one's living standard depends less on the country he/she lives in and more on his/her skills.

Currently, toilet cleaners here in Finland earn as much as a good engineer in China. That is not sustainable!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Rolf Schlumpf

I would suggest that as you apparently haven't lived in Japan, that you are at a disadvantage, experience wise, to those of us that have and do.

Looking at Japan from afar, even visiting now and then, is a completely different experience to living there. Living in Japan you begin to see all the skeletons in the closet; all the things swept under the rug; learn about the realities of having no actual rights (especially as a foreigner).

You haven't experienced many of the things the rest of us are discussing, because you haven't actually lived in Japan.

Also, be aware that your wife's attitudes will almost certainly change (I know you probably don't believe this, but wait and see) - as she will likely shed many of the more western attitudes which she has adopted while abroad, and return to the borg-like mindset predominate in the country of Japan.

You will have few, if any, true friends. Eventually, the polite veneer will fade away. You will always be viewed as an outsider; your friendships will always be skin deep - limited by this barrier you have no control over.

This is all part of the problem that some of us have referred to.

Believe me, I myself, and multitudes of others, have been through this.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

just-a-bigguy, then Japan will have to set up an economical form of self defense. It would be a "deterrent" force of a delivery system for h-bombs with a layer of Strontium...chose qui n'est pas résistée!! Unlike others I do not see a smaller population as a problem. Japan would be more able to take care of a lower number of people.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

YuriOtani: "Unlike others I do not see a smaller population as a problem. Japan would be more able to take care of a lower number of people."

Only at the expense of the social systems and infrastructure of the nation. Unless all of the elderly and people unable to work suddenly up and died a smaller population simply could not support the needs of all those here. It's simple fact. And having more immigrants does not at all mean the situation would worsen -- so cut the xenophobic remarks.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

smithinjapan, it is not your country and if America wants to expand its population by Immigration it is their problem. I do not consider it xenophobic at all. Japan has a unique culture and it would be drowned out. There is always a chance the population trend will reverse. Japan and Okinawa is not a country built upon immigrate. If Japan needs more workers, we can build robots or build factories in Okinawa.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Importing workers just for economy's sake isn't fair to either the immigrants or the Japanese and is a disaster in the long term. We've seen this legacy of unfettered immigration in other countries. A mass influx of immigrants who ended up doing low-paid work and were never properly integrated into society, which resulted in the creation of a permanent underclass. Social cohesion is threatened, the gap between rich and poor widens even further. There has to be another way. Again, I see Americans arrogantly expecting Japan to follow their model.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

If Japan needs more workers we can build robots or build factories in Okinawa.

Its not "workers" they need its more Working Tax payers......... so they need real people, a top heavy population pyramid is something you could research I don't think your on the same page when it comes to the population decline.

"There is always a chance the population trend will reverse."- it will after is hits the bottom of the valley, but its not doing it in 2030 or 2050...... its just too far behind

Please provide facts...... just saying "Japan has a unique culture and it would be drowned out (by Immigration)" by itself is xenophobic if you could back this up by some kind of study done then we could debate this issue.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Importing workers just for economy's sake isn't fair to either the immigrants or the Japanese and is a disaster in the long term.

A very good point, At this point it is too late to try to get all the immigration Japan needs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Please provide facts...... just saying "Japan has a unique culture and it would be drowned out (by Immigration)" by itself is xenophobic if you could back this up by some kind of study done then we could debate this issue.

Tyler, a large part of what makes up Japan's culture is the idea of its uniqueness compared to the rest of the world. I think that's what Yuri meant when she said it would be compromised by mass immigration.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Well said Patrick.

As for tourism not recovery like Thailand and the like... Japan has never had that type nor the numbers. Japan has a rep of being very expensive and difficult to travel. Which I don't disagree with. If Japan wants tourists, they need to make things cheaper and easier. More English/Chinese is needed. Prices need to drop and people here need to change their attitudes when it comes to foreigners. The locals can hate the Chinese all they want but they certainly want them for their money!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am skeptical of all predictions, including this one. Predictions are based on what is true at the moment. Things may change in the future in ways that we do not know. In the 80s there were predictions that Japan would be dominating the world by now. I did not buy into the the Japan as Number One hype then and I do not see Japan becoming a not rich nation in 2050, unless global warming will trash the world economy completely.

This is, it is interesting to note that the Japan supposed virtues in the 1980s are seen as liabilities today. The rigid schooling system, the oppressive company life, and the nation's supposed ethnic purity were hailed by conservatives and crypto racists. Anyone looking at these things not can only see a nation choking itself. The system will produce few (if any) Steve Jobs or even Bill Gates. The schools product students who can think who become corporate minions who can only follow orders. And Japanese racism only means there will be not enough Japanese in the future.

I might all change. But how I do not know. Japan might end up as a quaint little country with a few major industries and a lot dead ones.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tmarie Apr. 21, 2012 - 11:58AM JST

Well said Patrick.

As for tourism not recovery like Thailand and the like... Japan has never had that type nor the numbers. Japan has a rep of being very expensive and difficult to travel. Which I don't disagree with. If Japan wants tourists, they need to make things cheaper and easier.

That poster does not realize that Japan have to import almost everything from oversea. How can Japan make something cheaper which have to import from oversea? Most of the food come from Australia, China, Canada and rest of Asia. Supplier fix the price according the market. Japan has limited fertile land. It is impossible to feed the population with locally produce food. For example, Japanese beef is many times more expensive than US and Australia. If they think beef is expensive in Japan, they have to order directly from that nations. Japan has not much land for breeding the cows like them.

Japan is rich in technical skills and Volcanoes only. In the ancient time, Japanese elderly had to leave the house for dying alone in the forest. Some were still healthy. It was not only in Japan but also Native north Americans and some tribes of Eskimo. The reason was more food for younger generation. It can be called as ancient sacrifice. If we have to follow JT posters idea, we have to practice again these barbarian practice. Japan has the longest longevity. However not all elderly are burdening the society like western nations. In Okinawa, some farmers are more than 100 years old. They still work as part-time. It is true that their small income not cover for all living expenses. It does not mean they have to get suicide for younger generation.

When the more people come here, there will be more infrastructure, employment opportunities, energy, and water required. It is unrealistic for small nation like Japan has to follow the idea of mass migration. It is up to Japanese government to decide who will come here and who will leave the nation.

Many JT posters lectured Japan to change the economic model and immigration. In the reality, some of western nations financial situation are worse than Japan. Their homeland are depending on foreign finance for survival. Japan has huge debt however it was borrowed from local citizens not from foreigners. Unlike Greece, Japan will not need to beg the foreigners for write off the debt. It can be default easily with some form of tax return and retirement fund. It is true that Japan has never fully recovered from twin engine (real estate & stock market) bubble. How about Europe and USA? They have also got same problem like Japan. The difference is their debt is owed to foreigners.

More English/Chinese is needed. Prices need to drop and people here need to change their attitudes when it comes to foreigners. The locals can hate the Chinese all they want but they certainly want them for their money!!

During the 1980s, English/Chinese speakers population was lower in Japan than right now. However, Japan got more tourists, students and business. It was a booming time. Not like a glooming time like now. There are language barrier for tourists however it is not a major contributing factor for slump of tourism. Does Japanese hate Chinese? It was an old fashioned stereo type. J teens are crazy about Chinese pop stars( all are from Taiwan). Back in 2008, some teens waited at Tokyo Airport for many hours for just getting a few seconds view of F4 (actors from Meteor garden TV series). Let 's get back to the reality and real world.

Japan has many problems how about China and India? They have more problems than Japan because they have more mouths to feed and more houses to build for huge population. Even China has become second largest economy, not all Chinese citizens are well off and some have been left behind. How about Europe and US? Are all citizens well off? Not really!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Zen, things could be a LOT cheaper in Japan if there wasn't so much price fixing and backdoor deals to protect certain groups. Indeed, Japan imports a lot but there are a lot of things grown in Japan that is far, far, far too expensive. Why? Because of monopolies and agreements to keep prices at a certain level. At the end of the day, it is society that pays the price for this while the fat cats enjoy the money.

You're also forgetting that nations in debt are scaling back on many things and lots of cuts are happening. What is Japan doing? Raising taxes... Not exactly the smartest thing to be doing right now when there are so many things that could be cut - like the 1.3 million cap for housewives. Get rid of that an save millions! Roads to no where? Cut. Bonuses for the government? Cut....

Indeed, there are language barriers but you know what, other countries also have the same problem and manage. Everyone I know who has come to visit here has complained about a) the lack of English b) how little people can speak it.

Indeed, Chine and India have problems. But we aren't talking about China nor India's problems We are talking about Japan's problems. Which is where the majority of us live and where we are paying our tax money. Pointing out problems in other countries doesn't fix the problems here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't think large scale immigration would work in Japan. Most Japanese aren't in favor of it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Most Japanese are in favour of doing anything new or changing - which is why this place is bottoming out.

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Now we see the 'world of misearbles' will be, Japan shall never saving her owb out if decline because the Japanese politicians werte run by fossil politicians and foddil politics! Until then or even eralier the Japanese generation will refugees around the world, really a social problem to all the countries in asia!

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The future Japan is a huge aging populations that causing massive social burdens and younger generations has lost confidence to their political lwaders, by the way, Japanese people has get used to be an 'idle' country already! The natural disasters and nuclear pollution cleanup will exhaust the budegt of coming Japanese government!Really a world for miserables!

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Japan is definately not a rich country by now, the mounting debta has made her 'sunk' to the bottom! Unlike China, the Japanese politics was unefficiency and always deadlocked infights betwwn parties, does the people of Japan believes either the LDP or DPJ can lead Japan out of 'idle'? Japan has the highest suicides rate reflected how much pressure their people were enduring!

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Japan is going to have and reinvent itself. People are going to need and work longer. No need for them to work full time but part time? There is so much to be done, reinventing structures to make energy efficient, a new thinking on electric production, a new way to think about food production. Japan did well in the global economic game but now we are too expensive to play with them. Japan is a victim of its success, after all nothing fails like success. To lose and fail is understandable, to win and fail brings madness.

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Japan is a rich country, China's claim is far fetched at best. They infringe on copyrighted material like it doesn't matter. It won't last long. This is a phony stake at something the rest of the world takes quite seriously.

Fake it till you make it won'r serve China well. It's only a matter of time before the world stands up and says.... enough of this sh"#t! They are communists that starve their own people.... and they think they have influence in the world? It is all a bad joke.
-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How old in averages were the people of Japan, how many children does Japanese couples have now and in the future, how many trillion dollars and how many decades were needed to clean up the radiation pollutions after the Fukushima nuclear accident, how frequent does Japan having of high magnitude earthquakes and how many political parties and their factions were infighting in the Japanese politics, then you will got a clue why Japan's decline were already beyond control! And japan is still making troubles to save her own from an unrealistic 'recovery'? May God help you!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is about time that Japan wakes up and understands how much trouble their country is really in. I am Japanese-American and often go back to Japan for months at a time and am constantly in shock at how much trouble the Japanese economy is in. The fact that they will not be able sustain their workforce and are an extremely xenophobic country will hurt business. On top of that other Asian countries (i.e. Korea) are producing electronic products that are on the same level, if not better than, the Japanese. On top of the fact that Japanese people cannot speak English, which has become the international language for business, at even a mediocre level will continually hurt the Japanese.

The fact that America's economy is beginning to pick up again and the emergence of China, Korea and India over the past decade has provided Japan with business rivals that they did not have in the past. Now that they have finally realized that they are losing ground they have decided to start taking measures, but they are a couple of steps behind the other forward thinking countries. Within the next 15 years Japan will fall from the top 5 --maybe even the top 10 -- GDPs in the world.

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Japan no longer a rich country in 2050? Only if Nihon does not change its foreign policy... but it will ! G20 figures for 2011 are: 1. USA with GDP of 15million USD; 2. China 7,5m nominally or 11,5m Purchasing Power Parity; 3. Japan 6m nominally or 4,5m PPP; 4. Germany 3,5m nominally or 3m PPP; 5. France 3m nominally or 2m PPP; 6. UK and Brazil both around 2,5m nominally = PPP; 8. Russia 2m nominally or 2,5m PPP;...10. India 1,5m nominally or 4,5m PPP...and Australia, South Korea and Indonesia around 1 to 1,5m nominally more or less equalling PPP.

It is obvious isn't it? Japan should change its policy and couple its economy to other East-Asian countries (China, Russia, India, United Korea, India and ASEAN countries like Indonesia,Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore), and try to create a common market (defended by a common military force), instead of relying too much for both its economy and military to the USA! Look at the example of the European Union with a total GDP of 17,5million USD nominally or 16m USD PPP...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

By 2050 the only "rich" countries may be the ones with acess to whatever oil is left, lol.

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Correction: all the MILLIONS USD in my last comment should be TRILLIONS USD! Sorry for the mistake!

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tmarieApr. 21, 2012 - 11:25PM JST

Most Japanese are in favour of doing anything new or changing - which is why this place is bottoming out.

Japanese politicians stupidly followed western style wild and risky capitalism because of political pressure. For example, rapid appreciating of Japanese Yen was one major cause of doom and gloom. Japan has lost the export competitiveness. Sony and Panasonic can make same quality as oversea rivals. However their products are more expensive. One factor was currency. Another was Government subsidies.

If Japan has controlled the capital and domestic market partly like China and South Korea, Japanese stock market will not crushed and Yen value will not sky rocketed. In the reality, there are no free, fair and open market. All market has some forms of protection and cut throat competition. China is independent from western lecture and pressure. They did not rush to open their market as western demand. It was a wisdom of their late reform leader. They are still protecting their capital market. Their reform progress was very slow to western standard. They never took excessive risk and not let the market wild and uncontrollable.

Getting competitiveness required efficiency, speed, prudent regulation and market power. Japan has to follow the models of China, India and Singapore for getting back the good old days. Not the failed models of highly debt ridden and struggling nations.

Indeed, there are language barriers but you know what, other countries also have the same problem and manage. Everyone I know who has come to visit here has complained about a) the lack of English b) how little people can speak it.

China has less English speaking people than India. China got more tourists than India. Traveling in India take longer than China. One factor is China is more efficient in transport. One factor is China has better infrastructure. English speaking tour guide can be hired. If more English speaking nations got more tourists, South Africa will be one of the biggest tourists destination. However not many people from Asia want to travel to S.A. It is too far and inconvenient.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Zenpun

Japanese politicians stupidly followed western style wild and risky capitalism because of political pressure. For example, rapid appreciating of Japanese Yen was one major cause of doom and gloom.

I'm sorry, but this is just bad analysis. Japan has repeatedly practiced protectionism.

You are also misunderstanding the issue of Yen market value. The reason Yen is high, is because Japanese companies are currently buying lots of yen (in other words, they are trying to convert their dollars and euros into yen) in order to convert foreign revenues into domestic profits) in order to keep the Japanese economy afloat. This IS the one or the key reasons that the Yen is increasing in value.

In the reality, there are no free, fair and open market.

In the current market... I agree with you. This needs to change...

China is independent from western lecture and pressure

I disagree. China is one of the key markets being used by the west (and others) for manufacturing, as such they are directly impacted by foreign markets. If china does not meet the requirements insisted upon, foreign markets will just move to another country for their manufacturing.

They did not rush to open their market as western demand. It was a wisdom of their late reform leader. They are still protecting their capital market. Their reform progress was very slow to western standard.

This is all true, and will eventually have an impact on them. However, pointing to the mistakes of China does not fix the issues of Japan.

China has less English speaking people than India.

True. But more than Japan.

China got more tourists than India.

Also true. But this is only relevant for tourism.

If more English speaking nations got more tourists, South Africa will be one of the biggest tourists destination. However not many people from Asia want to travel to S.A. It is too far and inconvenient.

With all respect... this is a Non Sequitur.

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Patrick McPikeApr. 22, 2012 - 03:02PM JST

I'm sorry, but this is just bad analysis. Japan has repeatedly practiced protectionism.

Japan has protection to agriculture. Not in consumer, capital and trade. Comparing with Asian neighbors, Japan is more open and free. One thing is Japan does not share technology because Japan has home grown technology. Japan was a first Asian nations to adopt the western technology. Thanks to American trade mission of 18th Century. Without America market, trade and technical know how, Japan will not get advanced.

You are also misunderstanding the issue of Yen market value. The reason Yen is high, is because Japanese companies are currently buying lots of yen (in other words, they are trying to convert their dollars and euros into yen) in order to convert foreign revenues into domestic profits) in order to keep the Japanese economy afloat. This IS the one or the key reasons that the Yen is increasing in value.

I am not talking about just right now. The whole journey of Currency movement from 1970s to 2012. Let's go back to 1970s. At the time Japan has shifted economy from heavy industries such as ship building and chemical into consumer electronics and cars. At the time currency exchange was 1 USD was equivalent to more than 300 Yen. Japan Major export market was USA. Since Late 70s, US is pressuring the J Politicians for appreciating Yen. In the 1980s, 1USD become more than 100 Yen. The reason was trade imbalance. They are blaming China right now like at that time.

US was a major market, technical mentor and security provider. It is reasonable for Japan to appreciate Yen a bit. However it went to far and exchange rate was not moved according the market. There were some heavy buying by central bank. Japan export has started to decline.

1980s was boom time. There were many property speculation and capital flow. Some managed funds took risks oversea assets without proper research and analysis. Singapore and middle eastern has souvenir funds which are sophisticated in oversea expansion. Japanese funds were not. The result was Japan got assest bubble in from 1986 to 1991. Yen is low, export will be competitive however import will be expensive.

The reason of Yen buying right now is paying interest to bond holders. Unlike States and Europe, Japanese household saving are high. J Govt owed the debt to Citizens not to foreigners. Investors want to get more return from Government. If Yen is more depreciated, capital flight will be occurred. At the moment, it is too late to depreciate the currency value. The government has high debt to domestic investors and trade deficit is high.

I disagree. China is one of the key markets being used by the west (and others) for manufacturing, as such they are directly impacted by foreign markets. If china does not meet the requirements insisted upon, foreign markets will just move to another country for their manufacturing.

China has huge population and vast land. Unlike China, Japan did not invite the investment or make Joint Venture with others. China needs capital and technology. Japanese industries have already matured and established in 1980s. Development models was different.

With all respect... this is a Non Sequitur.

I whole heartedly agree! However one poster has repeatedly posted declining tourism and business was because of the non English speaking people. There are many factors related to that issue. Thanks for your feedback.

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Yuri, Japanese folks don't need to work "longer" they need to work "smarter". Until that happens, things will continue to bottom out.

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@yuriotani I do agree that Japan's population is too big for the land and natural resources they possess, but you do realize that Japan's entire infrastructure is supported by the current population size? We are not only talking about having "robots" working, but in the next 15-20 years a large portion of the Japanese population will be of retiring age and that Japan will not have enough money to pay for retirement pension. Also, speaking to my relatives and friends in Japan, most people do not have savings, investments or 401k plans. How will people survive without receiving pensions? Will they have to work longer? Into their 60s? 70s? 80s?

If that is the case then they will need jobs. But since the population will be decreasing more and more companies will fold. If companies are folding where will they get jobs?

You see this is the problem. Japan has known about these issues for years, but instead of planning ahead and cushioning the blow they swept under the rug and now its biting them in the ass.

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Patrick McPikeApr. 22, 2012 - 03:02PM JST

This is all true, and will eventually have an impact on them. However, pointing to the mistakes of China does not fix the issues of Japan.

China did not make mistake Patrick! Japan made mistake for opening market blindly without risk assessments. China was smart enough not to follow the lecture and pressure for opening market and appreciating currency. What Zenpun was saying that Japan needs to open market slowly and gradually. Pointing the Japan mistake can make other emerging nations not to follow the reckless misadventure(Real Estate and Stock market speculation). Financial and investment Gurus are not Gods.

China has less English speaking people than India.

True. But more than Japan.

True. China has 1.3 billion people. Japan has 130 millions. As a ratio of speakers with the whole population, China is not much different from Japan.

I am wondering Japan has badly bottomed. It is doomed and gloomed now. why not we think about moving to greener land. It is a right time for packing and leaving. Without our enormous contribution and Mount everest tax payment, Japan will not survive and extinct. For the sake of Japan, we reluctantly have to live and work here. It is our proud moment for love Nippon or Leave Nippon.

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Predicting the future is always is proofing to be difficult for Homo sapiens, because it is based on extrapolation of past events ! Who could predict in the 1970's that there would be cellular phones and Internet, and even that West-Germany would merge with East-Germany? On the other side, everyone predicted that there would already have been moon villages and men on Mars... So predicting how Japan would prosper in 2050 is plain guessing! One always underestimates the impact of the highly improbable on the future (black swan theory)! But one can create a society where there can be many successful "black swans"!

Japan is still a good society to create black swans, because it is not so much based on Roman Catholic or Confucianist orthodoxy. The dynamic elements are Zen-Buddhism, harmony between individuality and society, receptivity to learn or be inspired by Nature (Electrical Green cars, Nuclear Fusion, Space Rocketry, Genetic Modified Organisms...) or by other Homo sapiens (e.g. Kanji from China, Industralisation from UK/USA...). Of course there are also conservative forces like the Post World War II / Cold War Mentality, more or less imposed by the USA after beating "Kimigayo" in WWII, and dinosaurs like Ishihara...

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Idea for the think tank about the elderly population: it is much better to have an active octogenarian or even centenarian non-demented population than a senile and demented 70 plus obese and smoking population struggling with metabolic syndrome (obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia) at risk of dying any moment of a heart attack, acute heart failure or a hormone-dependent cancer! Look at the healthy not demented centenarians in Okinawa, known since China's First Emperor Qin Shi HuangDi to have an active elderly population and considered by the WHO as World Longevity Region! So that ginseng, sweet potatoes, raw fish and whale meat are not that bad after all, despite what Eco-fascism groups like say...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Addendum:... whale meat not that bad after all, despite what Eco-fascism groups like Greenpeace like to say...

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@Zenpun

Japan has protection to agriculture. Not in consumer, capital and trade. Comparing with Asian neighbors, Japan is more open and free

I disagree, but don't see the point in arguing about it. Besides, most asian countries suffer from a lack of freedom, so claiming that Japan is the best of a bad bunch isn't particularly reassuring - or productive. Japan should be looking for ways to improve, not merely saying, "well, at least we're better than country X, so we can just keep our heads in the sand for a while longer." I won't belabor the point, but Japan provides very few actual enforceable "freedoms", and virtually no protection of "rights" - This is my number-one issue with Japan. Once you glimpse behind the shoji, you realize that in Japan is much closer to tyranny than a free society.... but I digress.

Without America market, trade and technical know how, Japan will not get advanced.

Nice of you to acknowledge that. Many in Japan tend to forget how much America helped Japan to advance technologically, and how America even helped Japan to become dominant in certain technologies by providing Japan a "leg-up" in the American consumer electronic market.

I am not talking about just right now. The whole journey of Currency movement from 1970s to 2012. Let's go back to 1970s.

I would argue that this is normal forex market adjustments; but this is not my area of expertise. The Government of China seems to subsidizing their currency in order to keep their exchange rate artificially low. Japan has been known to do this (and other tactics) as well. This all seems like part of the protectionist scheme.

The reason of Yen buying right now is paying interest to bond holders

This is part of the reason. But it is also due to currency repatriation - for reconstruction efforts, and to keep struggling Japanese firms afloat.

China has huge population

Personally, I think that this sometimes backfires on China. When I was still dealing with China for work-related efforts, they commonly had the mistaken view that they could merely "throw more people" at a problem in order to fix something. In my experience, this generally hurt them. Most of the time, they wouldn't manage to really fix the problem - at best they would just "band-aid" the issue for a little while. This "kicking the can down the road" is what gets companies/countries into problems (part of the mess in America now).

China needs capital and technology. Japanese industries have already matured and established in 1980s. Development models was different.

I would suggest that the models are not so much different as they are "at different points" on the development time-line; which may also be what you meant.

However one poster has repeatedly posted declining tourism and business was because of the non English speaking people. There are many factors related to that issue.

Yeah, we agree on this one.

On the general "English in Japan" topic though, I think it would be useful to point out that it is indicative of another issue I observe about Japan - the "ganbatte" factor. There seems to be mindset which confuses motion for action. This, of course, happens everywhere to some degree (especially in bureaucracies), but seems to permeate modern Japanese society. I related this to the topic of "English", as many Japanese people study English in school, but don't actually learn the language; which seems due to poor teaching methods, and that mindset of confusing motion with action.

In any case, I want Japan to succeed. So I am hopeful that Japan will start making reforms to help improve its current situation, prevent its own slow demise and make it a freer country with actual protections for the rights of individuals.

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@gregoryharuko

Predicting the future is always is proofing to be difficult for Homo sapiens, because it is based on extrapolation of past events

I disagree, societies often make the same mistakes over and over. People seem to either not pay attention to the past, or think they are "smarter" than other people and that they can attempt the same actions but achieve different results. It is a counter-productive blend of egotism and ignorance.

Who could predict in the 1970's that there would be cellular phones and Internet

Apparently you never watched a episode of Star Trek.

even that West-Germany would merge with East-Germany?

Reagan did, even though the "experts" keep telling him it was not possible - even while he was eventually making it happen.

So predicting how Japan would prosper in 2050 is plain guessing!

Not at all. It is looking at the path that Japan is currently on and seeing where it is heading if Japan doesn't change paths in order to prevent it.

One always underestimates the impact of the highly improbable on the future (black swan theory)! But one can create a society where there can be many successful "black swans"!

Again - Not at all. This would suggest a change to the current path that Japan is on, thereby changing Japan's direction. That is the whole point of the discussion - to encourage Japan to change it's current path.

Japan is still a good society to create black swans, because it is not so much based on Roman Catholic or Confucianist orthodoxy.

Huh??? First, I don't see what a society not being based on Catholicism and Confucianism has to do with creating "Black Swans". Second, Japan is heavily influenced by Confucianist philosophy.

...etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

...and all us "gloom-and-doomers" shouldn`t forget radioactive food, the impending big earthquake to hit Tokyo, global warming that could mean a future of malaria-carrying mosquitoes here, and now it seems even Mount Fuji might be heating up again!

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@Patrick McPike

Since societies became realities after men settled down and left its hunter gatherer existence some 10000 years ago, societies became more and more complex intertwined. This created the possibility that some small out-of-the-box almost random event could have a big impact on society = black swan. For example, life without Internet now is unthinkable, but we as Homo sapiens lived 200000 years without Internet! This was difficult to predict...because life events in complex societies are uncertain in a sense (too many variables). The only certainty perhaps is that we all shall die some day...and even this is becoming uncertain with cryonics...They gave the astronauts cyanide for the dangers they would encounter that the engineers did/could not think of beforehand...

Star Trek during the 70 generation predicts that we would travel by ships to different galaxies... because they extrapolated the old naval ways of European sea discoverers. The only way seems at this moment to be by wormholes. You have a point in cellular phones though...but it was science FICTION then...

So you would predict the Unification of North with South Korea?

Economic predictions is not a natural science, but a mathematical game with changing axioms for the sake of making more money for the happy few.

Japan changed its paths several times during its History. From Neolithic Yomon to Tang dynasty like Heian period, from xenophobic shogunates to Modern Japan opening to Western industrialisation. It should change now its Post WWII/cold war period to an East-Asian Union period like the EU...

Japan is more influenced by Shinto Natural Philosophy and Zen Buddhism, then by Confucianism (still needed for structuring society though) as is Roman Catholicism is needed for structuring Western societies. You do go Xmas shopping? You do love US dollars, because "in God, we trust!". You need Shinto Naturalism and Zen to out of the box ideas and black swans, that is why Japanese society will continue to prosper in 2050 and beyond...
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@gregoryharuko

1) This is a series of non sequiturs completely unrelated to my comment. You seem to be confusing anthropology with political and economic trends (which is what I was discussing).

2) You seem to be dismissing the predictions because they were made by "science fiction" sources. What do you think Science Fiction is?

Wikipedia: Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities. Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas".

3) Completely different situation to E/W Germany. Among other things... Reagan was actively pushing to bring down the Iron Curtain and following a strategy towards that end. No one is doing anything remotely similar with N/S Korea.

4) You are comparing apples and oranges. The article isn't talking about random predictions, it is demonstrating the current trends and showing where that trajectory will lead the country if not changed.

5) Yes, Japan has changed when forced to due to external pressures. When has Japan done so on it own?

6) More non sequiturs... then:

You need Shinto Naturalism and Zen to out of the box ideas and black swans

This is complete and utter nonsense. Western culture is based on neither Zen, nor Shintoism and has plenty of "out-of-the-box" ideas - I would argue, the MOST OotB Ideas. You seem to be suggesting that Japan has some "magic mix" that allows only it to have your beloved "black swans". Again, utter nonsense. Where was industrialized agriculture developed? How about radio? Television? Computers? The Internet?

Also, are you aware that "Zen" is an export from China? Where is was practiced for centuries before eventually spreading to Japan (one of the last Asian countries to be exposed to it's teachings).

Nor is Shinto particularly unique. It is one of a multitude of Animism-type religions found throughout the world (including other countries also exposed to Ch'an/Zen) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animism

Japan is always so busy trying to be unique, that it misses opportunities to actually become unique.

And for the record: Edo Neo-Confucianism - Wikipedia: http://bit.ly/J3ECgY

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to David Chiang

It is about time that Japan wakes up and understands how much trouble their country is really in.

Sorry - I think a little bit too late .... As usual - when you understand that you have a problem - usually too late to do something.

am Japanese-American and often go back to Japan for months at a time and am constantly in shock at how much trouble the Japanese economy is in.

In US all goes well ? - $ 15,628,391,383,361 debt ....... but all goes well

On top of the fact that Japanese people cannot speak English, which has become the international language for business, at even a mediocre level will continually hurt the Japanese.

Filipinos can and it's really help.

The fact that America's economy is beginning to pick up again

It's not funny - US - out of buisness sorry

Now that they have finally realized that they are losing ground they have decided to start taking measures, but they are a couple of steps behind the other forward thinking countries.

Do you mean UK ? may be Spain ? Italy ? US ?

Within the next 15 years Japan will fall from the top 5 --maybe even the top 10 -- GDPs in the world.

many things will change in the next 15 years..... You will be surprised....

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@Patrick McPike

I think you are not following: politics and economics is not natural science, it is just power exercised by individuals who present it as a pseudo science for accomplishing a certain goal, and incapable of making any real scientific predictions ! Their predictions are just as good as throwing a dice ! In general politicians and economists are fake scientists... in comparison to physicists, biochemists, biologists.

Natural Reality is much more unimaginable than the best science-FICTION. Science-FICTION is made up in the mind of some individuals who try to extrapolate it from past events. To look for Natural Reality look for Journals like Nature and Science, not in Literature and Dictionaries !

People who want to make East-Asia a longlasting and prosperous region are trying to unite North with South Korea, but this goes against the geopolitics of uncle Sam, who still thinks he can call the shots in East-Asia after winning WWII/Cold War.

Apples and Oranges are both fruit, aren't they ? You just want to compare what looks right in your mind, what is inside your mind box. Of course it is easier to do that, but it is just the opposite of what out-of-the-box thinking is. So this article of predictions for Nihon in 2050 is just a wild guess, not natural scientific thinking !

Nihon has a very unique and creative mix of ideas, found no where else in the world. Of course the Japanese are influenced by ideas from other people (like every Homo sapiens is influenced by other Homo sapiens, which is called learning), but made some changes... like Shinto Naturalism (elaborated for a part from Daoism with its love for changes in Nature like the cherry blossoms in spring or the falling colored leaves in autumn), Zen Buddhism (elaborated from Buddhism in Korea/China, which in its turn elaborated from Indian Buddhism, which in its turn elaborated from Hinduism, etc...)... More recent examples are molecular genetics with molecular clock techniques (Motoo Kimura), spontaneous symmetry breaking or how our universe was made (Yoichiro Nambu), Plant neurobiology,... So you see, Japan is a very unique country to create black swans...it has a very promising future, especially if it focuses on other East-Asian countries (with the natural harmony between individuality and society), and leave the so inside-the-box US thinking behind...so Nihon can become a rich country by 2050 !

With animism you mean people believing in the power of a Roman torture machine, a 'holy' cross ?
-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@gregoryharuko

1)

I think you are not following

I follow perfectly well. Your original statement trying to relate the evolution of human society from hunter-gathers to the current socio-economic situation in Japan was for all intents and purposes a non-sequitur and had essentially no relevance to my point about Japan falling into the same trap that all statist political structures fall into.

Your new comment trying to say that human-sciences are "fake" and only "hard-sciences" have validity, merely demonstrates to me that you probably have a mediocre familiarity with human-sciences and an over confidence in the hard-sciences -- which frequently have to make corrections. Do you remember when Pluto was a "planet".

All "sciences" have strengths and weaknesses. All sciences are constantly evolving. Haven't you ever heard the saying: "Half of what we think we know is wrong, we just don't know which half"

Variations on the "but we don't know which half" line http://bit.ly/IkwwnQ

2) This is just nonsense. Science and Science Fiction play off of each other. Science inspires Science fiction, which in turn inspires science.

Prophets of Science Fiction : Science Channel http://bit.ly/IkwKvk 11 Astounding Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True http://on.mash.to/IjlcFc NASA - The Science of Star Trek http://1.usa.gov/Ikx3X0

3) Wanting something to happen, having a practical plan to do it, and actually implementing the plan are all different things -- Of course N/S Korea has little to do with the article... Anyhow, blaming the US is just an excuse. A) The US is currently extremely weak on foreign policy B) Why on earth do you think that the US wouldn't want a change to happen with regard to N Korea?!

4) This is just a nonsense answer. I will state it again since you seem to still not get it....

Japan has been a a trajectory. This isn't a magical prediction, this is what is happening. What the article is discussing is a report which shows where the current trajectory is leading. This isn't magic, it's not a wild prediction, it is an extrapolation based on the existing trend. Sciences of all sorts use these same techniques.

5) Your response to "5" was really addressing the previous point "6". You ignore the real point "5" altogether.

6a)

Nihon has a very unique and creative mix of ideas, found no where else in the world.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.... Japan is special. japan is unique. We've heard it all before. Every country thinks it is unique and special.

So you see, Japan is a very unique country to create black swans

No, I don't see how anything you said makes Japan uniquely positioned to be able to create a better out of the box thought environment.

Japan is the country where "the nail which sticks out, gets hammered", this mind-set is not very conducive to "out-of-the-box" thinking. Japan's own innovators get this: Japanese entrepreneurs aim for Silicon Valley ‹ Japan Today: http://bit.ly/JmwfPI

You say that Japan is "unique" in it's ability to "think out of the box". Yet Japan is anti-going against the grain. Out of the box thinking leads to disruptive techniques and technologies.

the so inside-the-box US thinking behind

You state that the west is incapable of "thinking outside the box" and seem to be denying the importance of west developed technologies like: TV, Radio, Computers, The Internet.

Your entire line of thinking is a great example of why Japan is sinking... this blind belief in Japanese uniqueness and superiority - in complete denial of reality. Your country is slowly disappearing, and you want stick your head in the sand.

6b) No, not even close. Why don't you actually read the link that I provided?

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Patrick McPikeAprApr. 22, 2012 - 11:54PM JST

I disagree------- --" I won't belabor the point, but Japan provides very few actual enforceable "freedoms", and virtually no protection of "rights" - This is my number-one issue with Japan. Once you glimpse behind the shoji, you realize that in Japan is much closer to tyranny than a free society.... but I digress.

Patrick!

I disagree about enforcealbe freedom. We are talking about economy therefore I will emphasize with Reganormic economic theory. "According that theory, Government is a problem of market movement. Let's the market wild, hand off useless government. prosperity will fall from sky." It was a root cause of world wide doom and gloom of the twin bubbles. Many nations happily followed Reganomic theory. If there are no regulations, there will be lack of transparency, fraud and misconduct. will be wide spread. Besides that there is no free lunch. Freedom has some obligation like not stealing and frauding other people assests.

Fund mangement has freedom and rights to control the capital. However they can not take excessive risks with other people life saving. When someone has a right to carry gun, he has obligation not to kill others for fun and excitement. It is also true for fund mangement is which accountable and competent for every decision and action.

I would argue that this is normal forex market adjustments; but this is not my area of expertise. The Government of China seems to subsidizing their currency in order to keep their exchange rate artificially low. Japan has been known to do this (and other tactics) as well. This all seems like part of the protectionist scheme.

One factor of US dollar depreciation was US government printed a lot of money. It is understanable that US want to gain competitivenes for rebanlancing the trade. However it is unfair for criticizing the trading partners for keeping currency value low. Without the adjustment of currency movement, no nation will survive. For example, Greece has own currency, they can devalue their currency for export competitveness. There are other ways to gain competiveness. Such as cutting minimum wages, abolisihin the union movement and changing industries. However they are unpopular and more complicated.

In any case, I want Japan to succeed. So I am hopeful that Japan will start making reforms to help improve its current situation, prevent its own slow demise and make it a freer country with actual protections for the rights of individuals

Economy is a Cycle Patrick!. When it is matured like human, there will be less growth and high cost. Even Japan has reinvented and restructured for competitiveness, GDP will never again reach to 8-10%. For successful economy, rule of law and order required.Not only unbridle freedom of market and confrontation with demanding union. More confronation means more chaotic economy.

If there are too much protection for individual rights, no investor will want to do business. For example, China was not much interested in environment, labour rights and intellectual property before. During the first & second stage of economic development, they sacrificed everything for pursuing GDP and prosperity. China was more industrilzed and more polluted. There are also more job opportunities and more industrial accidents. Now they are richer and more sophisticated. They want to slow down their growth a bit and fixing other problems.

We do not live in the perfect world for making profits and keeping everyone happy. Without the enforcement of rules and regulation, financial market, industrial relation and banking system will be out of control. Many giant banks have already run out of money. It was because of individual reckeless misadventure.

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@gregoryharuko

BTW - the whole "black swan theory" thing that you keep praising, was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Wikipedia http://bit.ly/J68KZa Who is himself a self-proclaimed statistician and practitioner of Epistemology (part of the field of philosophy).

In fact the whole "black swan theory" is a theoretical, philosophical theory, was developed to explain:

The disproportionate role of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance and technology

The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities)

The psychological biases that make people individually and collectively blind to uncertainty and unaware of the massive role of the rare event in historical affairs

I find it ironic that you are using a statistically developed philosophical theory (which is basically what you called "fake science") in an attempt to discredit the validity of statistical projection based on a pre-existing, and observable trend. That is definitely some creative "out of the box thinking". Maybe that is the issue, a mis-understanding of what out of the box thinking is.... allow me to assist in removing the misconception: Thinking outside the box - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/IaSgV9

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@Zenpun

I disagree about enforcealbe freedom.

This was admittedly somewhat tangental on my part, but I stand by the lack of enforceable rights in Japan. The legal system in Japan is setup to benefit the state and the state bureaucracies; at the expense of the individual rights. Just as one example, Japan has NO protections for parental rights - hence the issue of child abduction in Japan. Once one parent takes a child away, the other parent defacto loses all parental rights (this will eventually be confirmed byt the Japanese court system)

Once you realize that you could lose your child at any time, due merely to a marital disagreement - will you be more OR less willing to take the risk of starting a family? Might this be one potential factor impacting Japan's declining population rate?

It was a root cause of world wide doom and gloom of the twin bubbles

I disagree.

A) The main problem is that Government constantly continues to try to regulate, control, and over-burden the market. It selects incentive programs (which always have unintended consequences), and sometimes interferes with the pricing decisions of the markets.

This is what leads to all sorts of problems such as the current mortgage crisis in America. The Government interfered with the market and forced banks to provide unsafe loans. Left to their own devices, and completely depending on their own success and failure, banks would have never made such high risk loans.

The regulations created by government tend to benefit the large, established companies (making them bigger and potentially creating monopolies) and make it more difficult (if not impossible) for smaller competitors to enter the market and provide competition -- which benefits the consumers.

B) Sometimes companies make bad decisions; and fail. This is a necessary part of the market working - and the Government should not be providing bailouts, at the tax-payers' expense, rewarding companies for making bad decisions.

One factor of US dollar depreciation was US government printed a lot of money.

I agree completely. I am by no means claiming that the US is without issue. America has a Government spending problem that is leading us down a bad path as well.

For example, Greece has own currency, they can devalue their currency for export competitiveness.

Greece does not have their own currency. They are on the Euro system. And, actually, it was Germany which planted the seeds for the economic crisis in Europe - Although, Greece's excessive social-welfare spending would have causes problems eventually anyhow.

BBC News - Did Germany sow the seeds of the eurozone debt crisis? http://bbc.in/J8CbjW Germany’s low wages caused euro crisis, says report | GlobalPost http://bit.ly/JQyMkn German economic policy caused euro crisis: ILO - The Economic Times http://bit.ly/I2YTFL

Economy is a Cycle Patrick!.

I would suggest that politics are a cycle. The issues that are being faced globally are, in my humble opinion, due to Statist Government with uncontrollable spending on unsustainable social welfare programs - all of which history has seen before.

America was in a similar malaise under President Jimmy Carter. People said the same thing.. "the economy is stagnant", "America is in decline", etc.

Then we had changes in Government policy - which led to the economic growth and boom that falled in the 80s, 90s, etc. But during that time, Government shifted policies again and started interfering to much in the market.

If the Government gets out of the way, America will have another boom. Same in Japan.

Of course, Government still needs to reform its spending practices...

If there are too much protection for individual rights, no investor will want to do business.

I completely disagree.

For example, China was not much interested in environment, labour rights and intellectual property before.

Seeing your definition of "individual rights" though, I see that there is a disconnect. You seem to be talking about Government controlled regulations; which are supposedly to benefit individuals. I am talking about an individual having the freedom to make their own choices - without government interference.

We do not live in the perfect world for making profits and keeping everyone happy.

I agree. No system can ever make everyone happy. The system shouldn't be trying to make people happy. The system should protect people's freedom, and let free people make their own choices, live with their own decisions, and try to find their own freedom.

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Patrick McPikeApr. 24, 2012 - 01:07PM JST

This was admittedly somewhat tangental on my part, but I stand by the lack of enforceable rights in Japan. The legal system in Japan is setup to benefit the state and the state bureaucracies; at the expense of the individual rights. Just as one example, Japan has NO protections for parental rights - hence the issue of child abduction in Japan. Once one parent takes a child away, the other parent defacto loses all parental rights (this will eventually be confirmed byt the Japanese court system)

I did not see anything related to individual rights and freedom related in this article. As you said it is Non Sequitur. There is nothing about legal issues either. Japanese constitution was not written by Japanese. Therefore Japanese diet lost the credibility for enforcing freedom and rights. Even Japanese military force is symbolic for natural disasters and humanitarian mission. Constitution can not be changed easily and popularity. I understand that there are some family settlement unfavorable to expats. It was individual choice for choosing their spouses and raising child. It is not a national and economic issue of Japan.

The main problem is that Government constantly continues to try to regulate, control, and over-burden the market. It selects incentive programs (which always have unintended consequences), and sometimes interferes with the pricing decisions of the markets.

It was a great success story of Reganomic which made a free downfall of banking and financial system. Canada did not deregulate the market like U. The impact of Crisis for them was milder and weaker.

The regulations created by government tend to benefit the large, established companies (making them bigger and potentially creating monopolies) and make it more difficult (if not impossible) for smaller competitors to enter the market and provide competition -- which benefits the consumers.

In Singapore, there is public housing and central provident fund regulated by Government. Homelessness and poverty are rare species in that Island. On the contrary, there are many homeless, crimes and poverty existed in hand off government nations.

Sometimes companies make bad decisions; and fail. This is a necessary part of the market working - and the Government should not be providing bailouts, at the tax-payers' expense, rewarding companies for making bad decisions.

One or two failure is acceptable. If many banks broke like 2008, it was unnatural.

Greece does not have their own currency. They are on the Euro system. And, actually, it was Germany which planted the seeds for the economic crisis in Europe - Although, Greece's excessive social-welfare spending would have causes problems eventually anyhow.

I missed the word If for that sentence. How about Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Germany? Their social-welfare spending are many times more than Greece. According the happiest nations survey, Scandinavians nations are top of the list.

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I did not see anything related to individual rights and freedom related in this article

I did relate this to the declining population issue.

Japanese constitution was not written by Japanese. Therefore Japanese diet lost the credibility for enforcing freedom and rights.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy this at all. Japanese courts have NO problem enforcing things which benefit the system. The courts have proactively ruled in ways which violate Japan's constitution, but support the GoJ's status quo.

I understand that there are some family settlement unfavorable to expats. It was individual choice for choosing their spouses and raising child. It is not a national and economic issue of Japan.

You are mistaken... this is a Japan issue. The expat's just get the most press.http://t.co/Hc5LNV2E http://bit.ly/K4rd9c

And it is a national issue : it impacts Japanese parents the same way : which impacts both the Japanese economy, the society, and potentially impacts people decisions to start families; which could impact the birth rate.

And it is an growing economic issue : A) it is impacting Japanese parents at an ever increasing rate. B) The Japanese legal system is getting bad reputation internationally; therefore having foreign companies and investors thinking twice before investing in Japan. The Economist http://econ.st/w1nDAe

And why would skilled foreigners want come to Japan, as they have no protections?

I suggest you reevaluate the potential impact that the inability for Japanese parents to protect their parents rights would have on the society of Japan as a whole. And, again, this is just one of many examples.

It was a great success story of Reganomic which made a free downfall of banking and financial system. Canada did not deregulate the market like U.

The economy boomed under Reagan. Most of the debates about him and his policies are due to politics, not economic realities. If you are referring to the currently banking mess, it was caused by Governmental intervention and policies (as I described in my previous post)

Supply-Side Tax Cuts and the Truth about the Reagan Economic Record | William A. Niskanen and Stephen Moore | Cato Institute: Policy Analysis http://bit.ly/K4rskP

In Singapore, there is public housing and central provident fund regulated by Government.

Singapore has a VERY high level of economic freedom (Singapore is #2, while Japan is #22) : List of countries by economic freedom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/K4sopj

This economic freedom leads to a strong economy. Singapore has only a 1.9% unemployment rate: Singapore Economy 2012, CIA World Factbook http://bit.ly/Ib9vWi

Economic Freedom == Strong economy.

One or two failure is acceptable. If many banks broke like 2008, it was unnatural.

It was caused by Government meddling. If the Government hadn't tried to manipulate the market, the situation would likely never have occurred. A Government-Mandated Housing Bubble - Forbes.com http://onforb.es/Iba2aN Of course, due to the crazy politics happening in America, people are still trying to argue against this.

How about Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Germany? Their social-welfare spending are many times more than Greece.

I think I've made it clear that it isn't all about spending - but eventually spending will catch up to the over economic factors. Spending is currently the BIG issue for the US. That said, since I haven't lived in Europe in over 10 years (back when the EU was just getting started), I haven't payed much attention to the details of their economies. But the EU is very unstable and many countries are in trouble. The troubles there are far from over. European sovereign-debt crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/IbcU7v

And, if you read some of the articles I posted before about Germany, you'll see that Germany was "abusing" the EU relationship at the expense of other countries. As those countries suffer, Germany's ability to do that will continue to diminish...

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Patrick McPike Apr. 24, 2012 - 03:28PM JST

I did relate this to the declining population issue.

I have already debated about Population issue many times. Japan has not much fertile farms, natural resources and land space. The more population will promote the more demand for goods and service. It is good for economy and aging society. The more population will demand more infrastructure, water, energy and waste management too. Increasing migration without readiness for those necessities like Kamikaze pilot suicide mission. Firstly more earthquake prone houses needed to be built. If it is possible, Tsunami prone too. Uncomfortable truth is it is the most disaster prone nation on the earth. The more people crowded in the cities, the more people will die when disasters strike. For the realistic immigration policy, rural settlement needed to be enforced. Major cities are can not cope with more people. It may not be popular. However people have freedom to choose as Yes or No to migrate.It is individual right of freedom to contribute or refuse.

You are mistaken... this is a Japan issue. The expat's just get the most press.

I got sympathy for expats who choose the J spouse. I prefer a female from other planet. There are unfairness in Immigration and family settlement. Spending too much time of social issue will lose the focus of more priority of economic development such as Sushi & Miso soup. It is better for settling with joint custody instead of one guardianship. It is painful dispute however it is not starving or freezing in the snow. Therefore it is not life threatening problem.

And why would skilled foreigners want come to Japan, as they have no protections?

During the economic boom, Japan need a lot of skilled foreigners. Right now it has doomed. Importing more skilled foreigners without employment opportunities and reasonable living cost is very cruel. Even they get a good job, they can not save for reserve fund. It is just promoting more hatred and resentment. Back in 1980s, there were more positive view of Japan from expats. Thing has changed.

This economic freedom leads to a strong economy. Singapore has only a 1.9% unemployment rate: Singapore Economy 2012, CIA World Factbook http://bit.ly/Ib9vWi

Singapore is located in strategic location unlike isolated Japan. They grouped with pan South East Asia market.for market and growth. Due to huge local Chinese population, they got favorable treatment from business community of China and Taiwan too. Besides that Singapore growth model was Japan back in 1960s.

It was caused by Government meddling. If the Government hadn't tried to manipulate the market, the situation would likely never have occurred. A Government-Mandated Housing Bubble - Forbes.com http://onforb.es/Iba2aN Of course, due to the crazy politics happening in America, people are still trying to argue against this.

Back in 1997, Asian banks got bursting problem like 2008. Before the crisis, Governments did not interfere much for banking and market. When almost all of them out of control, Malaysian PM Mahathira capped the currency with fixed exchange rate. They regulated the length of investment for minimum one and half year. They did not follow the IMF lecture and austerity measure. It was successful and Malaysia was relatively unaffected from crisis and debt. New Thai PM admired his performance and adopted. Within a few years, Thai settled all debt from IMF.

Spending is currently the BIG issue for the US.

Even I am not a son of God, I have a sympathy for helpless unemployed and homeless people. If the government and Charity cut spending, there will be death sentences for many of them. Especially in the cold winter. Even they are spending, not all needy got assistance they needed. There will some mismanagement and inefficiency. Back in 1930, US faced the great depression. A wise president stimulate the economy with railway, bridge construction. It is win win for unemployment and nation. People got employment for food. Nation got infrastructure and social stability.

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@Zenpun

the declining population issue.

The issue is that Japan needs to either: A) increase the population B) Reform the Social-Welfare Programs.

While, I don't agree with many of your other assertions regarding the limitations of Japan, I also don't really see their relevance in addressing one of these two key issues relevant to topic in the article - As such, I won't bother debating them.

You seem to merely be stating that you believe that a declining population is good for Japan, without addressing the looming economic issue that is will cause; which is the point of the article.

I got sympathy for expats who choose the J spouse

You are still ignoring the fact that this isn't an "expat" issue, it is a problem with the Japanese social/legal system; which impacts Japanese far more than foreigners. The Japanese system not only doesn't protect the family unit (which I would suggest was one of Japan's great strengths in the past), the system is structured in a way which actively encourages the ripping apart of families in order to avoid even minor conflicts. The system rewards negative behavior!

And again, this is just one example of the lack of freedom in Japan due to the system benefiting the State vs. the People.

Spending too much time of social issue will lose the focus of more priority of economic development

I'm surprised that you do not see that this topic has a direct connection to economic issues. The current system has a negative impact on Japanese society (and therefore the economy) as a whole.

During the economic boom, Japan need a lot of skilled foreigners. Right now it has doomed. Importing more skilled foreigners without employment opportunities and reasonable living cost is very cruel.

This is a deflection from my point. You are stating that since Japan in decline, it is better that fewer expats want to come to Japan, rather than addressing the point I raised of how social policy in Japan it turning off the desire of skilled workers to want to go there.

In addition, I think that your logic may be flawed... have you considered that if Japan had more skilled workers, the rate of decline in Japan could be either slowed or reversed?

Look at the current issue with Olypmus.... A) how do you think that it makes Japan look to the world's economic community? B) It is a very public example of how attempting to improve Japan (by for example, making a Japanese company run more effectively) is punished. In this case, by the foreign CEO trying to fix the situation being fired. Again, it is a very public demonstration of the tendency in Japan to want to ignore, or coverup issues.

Singapore is located in strategic location unlike isolated Japan

This is an empty argument. Singapore has basically no natural resources, is the smallest country in the region, yet has been the most financially successful of the ASEAN countries. If it is merely a quirk of Geographic location, why have they been financially more successful than their larger and more resource enriched neighbors? Simple. It isn't due to Geography - It is due to their policies of economic freedom!

If Japan would become more free, I'm willing to bet the economic condition would greatly improve.

Back in 1997, Asian banks got bursting problem like 2008. Before the crisis, Governments did not interfere much for banking and market.

This is not simply not true. For example, "Japan's policies that kept otherwise insolvent banks operating, and that impeded the flow of capital to efficient firms, significantly prolonged the effect of Japan's crisis, resulting in a decade-long stagnation of the Japanese economy." source: http://1.usa.gov/I7Vnxw

Back in 1930, US faced the great depression. A wise president stimulate the economy with railway, bridge construction. It is win win for unemployment and nation. People got employment for food. Nation got infrastructure and social stability.

This is historic economic revisionism. The "New Deal" was largely a Governmental Power-Grab (initially, FDR's policies where shot down by the courts for their unconstitutionality; then FDR threatened to "pack" the court: Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/I83mKT ), which was generally a failure economically. It prolonged the financial recovery by several years.

"Roosevelt's cartel-high wage policies prolonged the Depression by several years. In the absence of these policies, we estimate that the economy would have recovered back to trend quickly, with hours worked and investment rising well above their normal levels, rather than being significantly depressed."

"There are two principal messages from the New Deal and these other economic crises for our current crisis. One is that crisis management policies designed to reduce the cost of a financial crisis can actually prolong the depressing effects of these crises by impeding the normal forces of supply, demand, and competition."

source: http://1.usa.gov/I7Vnxw

Top Three Myths about the Great Depression and the New Deal - YouTube http://bit.ly/ICzqnd

While often well-intentioned, government intervention generally makes problems worse, not better.

Anyhow, I've enjoyed the discussion, but it is now becoming circular. I hope that the people of Japan will stand up for reform, and that Japan will save itself from its current state of decline.

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Don't worry just hold on!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhghhhhhhhhh

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The fairly obvious solution is to implement a policy of encouraging immigration, with a careful selection process to attract educated, hard-working young people from Asia to come and live and work in Japan.

This is politically improbable in Japan, however, especially with political dinosaurs such as Ishihara trying to whip up hatred and mistrust of other countries, rather than looking for friendship and cooperation.

FnC

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I'm surprised that you do not see that this topic has a direct connection to economic issues. The current system has a negative impact on Japanese society (and therefore the economy) as a whole.

Japan has lower crime rate. It has the positive impact on Japanese society. Japanese employers are relutantant to fire workers. Therefore it is keeping more social order. Which system is perfect?

In addition, I think that your logic may be flawed... have you considered that if Japan had more skilled workers, the rate of decline in Japan could be either slowed or reversed?

More skilled workers needs more job opportunities. The rate of decline in Japan was a structure and investment problem. Not about skilled shortage. Japanese Architecture and engineering is one of the finest in the world.

While often well-intentioned, government intervention generally makes problems worse, not better.

It is very irresponsible and inhumane too. Starvation, Great Depression and Natural Disasters needs more intervention. If there is no Government, there will be more dead bodies, chaotic food shortage and social disorder. If there is no Government intervention, there will be no need to pay the salaries of Bureaucrats and Public servants.

frontandcentreApr. 27, 2012 - 09:02AM JST

The fairly obvious solution is to implement a policy of encouraging immigration, with a careful selection process to attract educated, hard-working young people from Asia to come and live and work in Japan.

Japan has plenty of homeless and unemployment right now. There is power shortage, land & food shortage and disasters damage. It is over populated with small land space. Your solution is out of touch with reality. Japan needed to find another fertile in other planet for accommodating all of people you mentioned. Get back to the reality.

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Flyfalcon; Land shortage in japan? No, there is tons of free space in Japan, only lack of space is inner cities.My village has twenty lots of land ready to sell and no takers, because most prefer city life. Get back to the reality.

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Ninjadave!

Land shortage means fertile land and breed able ground for live stock. Japan is also the most disaststers affected nations on earth. The more earthquake prone buildings needed to be built for accomodating more people. Without preparation and importing more people means suicide mission for all. This is more realistic observation for essential needs of people such as food, water, energy and safe accommodation. It is the real world which can not cope the rising demand of population with available resources.

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@Flyfalcon

Okay...okay... I wasn't going to continue on this thread, but I have to respond to this.

Japan has lower crime rate.

Does it? Maybe. Or perhaps it is just less reported (Japan child abuse cases hit record - UPI.com http://bit.ly/Js3ROP)?!. Either way, this is a side argument, and therefore a deflection. The point is that Japan lacks many basic protections of individual / human rights - and this has an impact on productivity; and Japanese society in general.

Japanese employers are relutantant to fire workers.

You seem to be stating this as a positive. A) this trend is fading. B) How does a company holding onto non-productive workers really benefit Japanese society???

Therefore it is keeping more social order.

A zoo has order, does that mean that it is productive??? Boy, those カバ sure are fast typist! :P

Which system is perfect?

No system is perfect. That is why you have to select the the system of "lesser evils".

More skilled workers needs more job opportunities. The rate of decline in Japan was a structure and investment problem. Not about skilled shortage. Japanese Architecture and engineering is one of the finest in the world.

I would suggest that you are looking at this very backwards... Entrepreneurship creates more "job opportunity". Having more skilled (and creative) workers available could: A) provide a larger pool of potential entrepreneurs B) provide a larger talent pool to assit entrepreneurs with creating job opportunities.

Japanese Architecture and engineering is one of the finest in the world.

This is a very limited view of a complex topic. The Japanese market tends to create folks fairly skilled at things which are tangible. I've sat in many meetings at prominent Japanese companies which the "technical intelligentsia" debating irrelevant topics (where both groups were wrong) about more abstract aspects of applied technology. As another example... Japan is the only remotely tech country where it is a struggle to find a hot-spot. When I was in Japan, I was amazed at how "low-tech" Japan was with regard to day-to-day practical technology.

I've got tons of real-world examples.... here is another:

Touring a promenant "high tech" company trying to impress me with their testing facility - basically showing me how well they could test cables - but they had no idea that they needed to turn on SNMP to actually manage network devices over a a network (so they had been trying to RMAing perfectly functioning products as dysfunctional, when the only disfunction was their technical knowledge.

It is very irresponsible and inhumane too. Starvation, Great Depression and Natural Disasters needs more intervention. If there is no Government, there will be more dead bodies, chaotic food shortage and social disorder. If there is no Government intervention, there will be no need to pay the salaries of Bureaucrats and Public servants.

This is just flawed Keynesian thinking. You obviously didn't read any of the research papers that I referred to. Do you really believe that a handful of bureaucrats sitting in an office somewhere have a superior understanding of what people need... than the people themselves do??? This is called the the "Fatal Conceit" Did imperial Japan benefit Japan? I seem to recall Japan being pretty messy at the end of WW2... Governments are nothing without people -- people are the power!

I suggest that you read a introduction to economics book. There is a basic tentant in economics called "unintended consequences". Basically, Governments push an agenda on the people... and that agenda tends to backfire -- it has unintended consequences : here is a video to help you out: Unintended Consequences | LearnLiberty http://bit.ly/Js5VpY

People are smarter than governments. People survived for hundreds of thousands of years without governments. A government should protect people - not control people.

"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." F.Hayek

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Patrick!

Does it? Maybe. Or perhaps it is just less reported (Japan child abuse cases hit record - UPI.com http://bit.ly/Js3ROP)?!. Either way, this is a side argument, and therefore a deflection. The point is that Japan lacks many basic protections of individual / human rights - and this has an impact on productivity; and Japanese society in general.

You post has the longest life span in that old thread.Japan was honored for such as sacrifice for the sake of Japan decline. I agree most of the most of Zenpun and Athletes. I prefer not not die the by indiscriminate gun shots, drug abuse and crime spree streets than relatively ordered civic society. Individual freedom and rights does not mean we can impose our ideology to others to follow and worship them. I love eating meats however I have no rights to force Vegetarians to follow my way. Thanks for their way, more live stocks for meat eaters. It is a natural way of balancing the available resources.

Child abuse existed more in Utah & some surrounding area. They have Polygamy group which married multiple under aged wives. Until a few years ago, they had freedom to exploit the rights of freedom. Their rights and freedom is against with the mentality of main stream decent American society. Modern decent American society does not allow the pointless religious freedom for promoting the idea of special interest group.

How does a company holding onto non-productive workers really benefit Japanese society???

How does a Japan holding non-productive foreigners really benefit Japanese society? Not all expats are skilled and excellent contributors of economy. Recently Japanese descendants of Brazilian national moved back to Brazil. Most of them were low paid unskilled workforce. Firstly I thought that Japan will have no more tomorrows without them. However the Sun still rise from the East.

A zoo has order, does that mean that it is productive??? Boy, those カバ sure are fast typist! :P

If the animals are starving and out of their cage, there will be nightmares.

I would suggest that you are looking at this very backwards... Entrepreneurship creates more "job opportunity". Having more skilled (and creative) workers available could: A) provide a larger pool of potential entrepreneurs B) provide a larger talent pool to assit entrepreneurs with creating job opportunities.

Not all entrepreneurs are wise and talented. For entrepreneurs who will risk his own money, they have to be welcomed with red carpet. If they want to risk other people money, we are no longer affordable.

When I was in Japan, I was amazed at how "low-tech" Japan was with regard to day-to-day practical technology.

Low tech products can be marketed easily to wider population. High tech products are not essential. For example I can survie without computer and Ipad. Not without rice cooker and fridge.

network devices over a a network (so they had been trying to RMAing perfectly functioning products as dysfunctional, when the only disfunction was their technical knowledge.

They are not perfect. However most Japanese products have good reputation in the market because of TQM(Total Quality Management). It is better testing than without testing at all.

This is just flawed Keynesian thinking. You obviously didn't read any of the research papers that I referred to. Do you really believe that a handful of bureaucrats sitting in an office somewhere have a superior understanding of what people need... than the people themselves do??? This is called the the "Fatal Conceit" Did imperial Japan benefit Japan? I seem to recall Japan being pretty messy at the end of WW2... Governments are nothing without people -- people are the power!

Why do we need to do election and employing public servants? They better not to do anything. They are useless for economy and society. We have to remove all of the leaders and bureaucrats. If there is no leader, there will be confrontation and arguments for making decision. People will fight each other for domination. Not much different from stone age.

People are smarter than governments. People survived for hundreds of thousands of years without governments. A government should protect people - not control people.

It may be true in Theory. In the real world, politicians control the people. Some are corrupted and fraudulent. They exaggerated the threat and spent the fortunes for their interest. People are exploited by their leaders and politicians. Not all of them faced the justice. Therefore I think Government control the people. In some cases, they protect people. In some cases, they protect their deception and reputation.

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