politics

Young Japanese worry about future amid recession

44 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

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Us OLD timers (I'm 39) too worry about Japan!!! Japan bubble a faint and distant memory .... :(

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Young Japanese worry about future amid recession

And well they should be.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Why don't they ask some of the working poor about the regressive consumption tax and cutbacks to social services while corporate welfare expands? Estimates suggest they make up 30% of the labour force. Do they support Abe's neoliberal policies aimed at further enriching the wealthy class?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Ask any 20 years old about this, they have no idea, nor any interest about it. They just blindly hope to become salarymen, or housewives, after 4 years of "university".

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Japan is a hopeless basket case. There is no future for young Japanese in Japan. They should learn Chinese and maybe English and get out why they can.

The fact that 40% of workers in Japan are in rubbish contracts and part time jobs just shows how hopeless Japan has become. Workers in these positions are not so motivated as they don't feel they are part of a company and they can be dismissed at any time. And they don't and can't spend much.

How has Japan managed to fall so low so quickly??

9 ( +16 / -7 )

I agree, learn a foreign language or two.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

“The generation born as Japan’s economic bubble burst in the early 1990s will be supporting a vast cohort of retirees. … most are making do without the security of lifetime employment enjoyed by their parents and grandparents.”

I feel truly sorry for young Japanese who have to work hard to support themselves, their children (if they ever get married and start families) and a fast-growing population of retirees not to mention they have to pay more than a quadrillion yen of national debt. On top of that, they could become the fresh victims of intensely competition of international talent pools.

The bottom line is that there is little chance for young Japanese to have better lives than that their parents and grandparents did given the current economic trend of Japan. The worst part is that young Japanese don’t have much welding power to charter a new course. In fact, their hopes may turn dimmer as each day passes by.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I had a contract in Japan once for a job at an advertising company in Tokyo--¥30 Man a month for basically being an unlimited, disposable overtime slave. No real chance of advancement or a long-term position. Terrible work, too. I told them they could stuff it. Much happier and better off now financially, too...

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Yup, my Japanese husband starting working this April and has said "We need to get out of this country" every day since. Plans in motion.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The young mom said “Child care, elder care, social welfare are all going to be even bigger burdens for us.” but left out socialized medicine.

All of these add to the huge burden on the future, dwindling generations.

It's truly a bleak outlook.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

pushing prices higher and the value of Japan’s currency lower....Profits of big exporters have surged, thanks to the weaker yen, but higher costs have hit households and smaller companies. Despite some wage increases, many ordinary Japanese feel less well off than before, thanks to longer-term declines in wages and purchasing power. He also has promised to slash corporate taxes beginning next year...

In others words, the richest are getting richer an the poorest are getting poorer. In a country were the vast majority of people were middle-class not 25-30 years ago, thanks for increasing the salary gap Abe! Abenomics sucks!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I do not know if there is any easy answer as each generation has its own unique problems and most make it through. I guess I would like to see the younger generation take their eyes off of the cell phones a few minutes each day and look at the world around them. Then maybe they might find a bit of sunlight in their lives.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ask any 20 years old about this, they have no idea, nor any interest about it. They just blindly hope to become salarymen, or housewives, after 4 years of "university".

Absolutely spot on!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@koiwaicoffee

Ask any 20 years old about this, they have no idea, nor any interest about it. They just blindly hope to become salarymen, or housewives, after 4 years of "university".

I've noticed the same thing. There was a brief period of optimism where I felt the younger generation wanted to develop themselves & work abroad - not be at the mercy of the 'old boys club' Japan Inc. Not the case now, which is really sad.

Great username btw :)

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The younger generation here are MAYBE finally realising that their grand-dads - the ones in control of this joint - only care about themselves, and couldn't give a rats about their future , the economy or the environment.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Perhaps if the government cut back on wasteful spending (ie. Olympics, maglev trains, etc.) and awarding themselves pay rises there would be no need increase consumption tax.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The government should really be focusing on encouraging the massive ageing population to start spending instead of saving. 80% of this country's wealth is held by people older than 65 and they don't spend a cent. More than ever I think we'll begin to see a majority of advertising targeted to seniors.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan will never be able to escape from tribalisim.

Tribalism is the state of being organized in, or advocating for, a tribe or tribes. In terms of conformity, tribalism may also refer in popular cultural terms to a way of thinking or behaving in which people are more loyal to their tribe than to their friends, their country, or any other social group.

(The draconian policiy makers and heads of corporate charged with keeping the poor in their place and the middle class sliding into poverty)

Tribalism has been defined in engaged theory as a 'way of being' based upon variable combinations of kinship-based organization, reciprocal exchange, manual production, oral communication, and analogical enquiry. Ontologically, tribalism is oriented around the valences of analogy, genealogy and mythology. This means that customary tribes have their social foundations in some variation of these tribal orientations, while at the same time often taking on traditional practices, and modern practices, including monetary exchange, mobile communications, and modern education.

("We Japanese" is not even that. Within the assimilation is a caste system that will never ever break the hold it has on keeping the majorty of people in their place)

Unless.... Arise!

Get off your knees.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Mrs. Yamaguchi has her head screwed on the right way.

Not so much for this guy though:

“If they raise the sales tax now, it will hurt the economy and tax revenues will fall anyway,” said Tanaka,

Official figures indicate that tax revenues increased, but granted it did hurt the economy (as expected). That's the reality of the nasty situation Japan is in though. Grow a pair, Mr. Tanaka.

“We have to hope,” he said. “If Japan falls to pieces, our society will be finished. We have to muddle through.”

Hoping is NOT a plan. If everyone just "hopes", how is democracy going to work? Democracy only produces good results when people THINK for themselves and act accordingly, with the wisdom of the crowd shining through. Unfortunately this is one respect where Japan seems to be badly broken.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Young Japanese worry about future amid recession

Well go to the polls or get out on the streets and do something. Drop the "shoganai" attitude

6 ( +7 / -1 )

That lady with the kid should save her money rather than blow it in shibuya.

And if she does manage to save some, the LAST thing she would buy is soon to be worthless J-bonds.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"The young mom said 'Child care, elder care, social welfare are all going to be even bigger burdens for us.' but left out socialized medicine."

That's because Japan does NOT have socialized medicine. It has a mixed system that incorporates public and private provisions of health insurance. A "public option" in the form of national health insurance exists, like in every other rich country including now the USA, but that doesn't mean Japan has a system of socialized medicine. Doctors in Japan are not employees of the state like they are in Britain.

What a difference a quarter-century makes for a 25 year-old in Japan. Being a 25 year-old in Japan in 1989 must have been one of the greatest feelings in the world--bubble economy, secure lifetime employment for everybody, hard partying at Juliana's, etc. Being a 25 year-old in Japan 25 years later in 2014 is still pretty good, but the party won't come to your door anymore.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hi Koiwaicoffee,

'Any'..adding or dropping as a quantifier, feels like linguistic barbed wire (humour me, smiling not barking), rules of inference I guess, as in,'there exists' and 'for all'.

My point, maybe a few twenty somethings on calculating the correct end of a pencil, woke up smelt the 'coffee', decamped to London, pitched a tent in the hallowed student halls of the LSE, moodled a masters in finance and economics, and are honing there ACA log books Quanting for the numerous financial institutions patiently biding time until the so called 'old boys club', finally submerge without trace in there self induced political and economics quicksand. I for one won't be tossing them rope.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Lest we should forget,Japan is an out and out capitalist society with plenty of protective measures in place to protect the entrenched OB network.an Olympic stadium here and a maglev line here-those are priorities for the LDP. The construction companies are those that benefit.As someone who has been down more than a few roads to nowhere,I can personally attest to the tragic waste that goes on.Still, someone has to be on the receiving end of a wad of yen?

When I see the vast numbers of South East Asians thronging the tourist spots it brings home to me how far Japan has fallen and how other nations have risen.........

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The quintessentially Japanese practices, notably the "lifetime employment" system is long gone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a difference a quarter-century makes for a 25 year-old in Japan. Being a 25 year-old in Japan in 1989 must have been one of the greatest feelings in the world--bubble economy, secure lifetime employment for everybody, hard partying at Juliana's, etc. Being a 25 year-old in Japan 25 years later in 2014 is still pretty good, but the party won't come to your door anymore.

A very astute observation. What's sad is that I know more than a few people (particularly women) who act as though the party is still going on. I'm talking about late-forties OLs who talk dreamily of the day that "I meet someone, get married and have kids." Just how much time do they think they have?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The lifetime employment aspect to the social contract has morphed/shape shifted into a two tier system.

I know this is like wading through concrete. The system is detailed below.

Read and weep depending your political affiliation.

http://www.jil.go.jp/english/laws/index.htm

However no matter how one dresses it up, the aerobic, aberonics of abenomics abearrow lies firmly embedded in the rear of the Incumbent BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda chair.

There is a 40% wage disparity between the full and part time employee contracted to carry out identical duties to same company.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“We have to hope,” he said. “If Japan falls to pieces, our society will be finished. We have to muddle through.”

And that just about sums it up. No idea what the reality of the situation is, or what it entails, just a basic notion that there's some kind of problem with the economy, but naturally 'it can't be helped' and the best thing to do is simply put your comfortable blindfold back on and stumble ahead through it all with that fallback 'gaman' attitude.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The nice thing about living here is you can ditch the car and live a pretty decent life trying to play it poor. Haven't gotten a raise in years- in fact sometimes it has gone down. But not hurting either.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

nishikat, it is of course a fact that most english teachers have no interest in money and no ambition by definition. But if you are happy, then all power to you and good luck!

But how on earth is japan going to attract the skilled workers it needs?? Impossible and just hopeless!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Hi Nishikat, Please forgive my curiosity, I felt pang of sadness, as you have seemingly succumbed to accept perpetuity as a inevitability. If you work conscientiously and your labour improves your employers balance sheet, you deserve to be recognised and rewarded accordingly. To ditch your transport, and pretend to be poor, is astonishing. Sorry to nosey, do you find this situation prevalent in your local community?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There is a possiblitiy to go out of the country before you are 30 Years old to selective foreign countries where you desire to go even if you dont know

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, according to advice on Motley Fool dot com they say if you want to feel as happy as a rich person then you should live poor if you have a middle class salary. But I don't mean literally poor as in living under a bridge.

"But if you are happy, then all power to you and good luck!" Thank you. I have a wealthy friend back home. But he is often complaining. What's the point of having all that stuff if it threatens your happiness? Are you wealthy? How do you feel about life, in general? Does not being an English teacher make you feel happy?

"Sorry to nosey, do you find this situation prevalent in your local community?" No problem. What do you mean. Community? Country? All of japan? I think all of Japan is becoming less interested in car ownership, for example. But I hear the same thing in the USA. Are you in Japan now? Would you like me to elaborate differently?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kudos, Nishikat,

You have a mature contented way of looking at life. I feel if you work, impress, so bringing success to the company, then share and share alike, your senior management should reward you, It encourages respect and loyalty.

My question was pertaining to your local community, neighbours and or colleagues you meet on a day to day basis. Does your attitude influence those around you?

Yes at present I am in Japan for a break with my family in Kochi. I openly rage at the fact that family members work on contracts that are inherently prejudicial. I bark away because of the exploitative nature of the situation.

I work in a environment in London that encourages debate, sometimes confrontational and aggressive.

The British will debate a light on or off. It would drive my family in Japan to insanity. But they never complain, serenity and calmness are the order of the day. I would love to see twenty somethings here engaging there politicians, huffing and puffing regularly.

I fully appreciate koiwaicoffee point that politically twenty somethings are lobotomized, but I have been encouraged that although still a minority some or waking up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Love the photos. Only one person has a cell phone and that person is not looking at it, but rather giving us all a great smile. This group of people are way ahead in my book!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Young Japonese worried about their future, I should think all young Japanese people should worry about the future.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Perhaps if the government cut back on wasteful spending (ie. Olympics, maglev trains, etc.) and awarding themselves pay rises there would be no need increase consumption tax."

Hear, hear!

But really, there's really too much negativity here. I have confidence that Japanese technology will not only solve the Fukushima Daiichi fiasco, it will invent non-polluting renewable power to replace Saudi and Iranian oil.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hi Serrano, I second that positive prediction. The negatively is a reflection on the politics, the resilience or resolve of Japan to overcome the economic downturn has never been in question.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

jojo_in_japanNOV. 26, 2014 - 07:56AM JST Us OLD timers (I'm 39) too worry about Japan!!! Japan bubble a faint and distant memory .... :(

I wasn't here during the 'good times' but regardless, I'm 39 and don't feel old in the slightest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

" Does your attitude influence those around you?" Not really. But I thought people are starting to realize that having all this stuff creates more headaches. In the United States 8-year car loans are starting to become more popular. The reason is car ownership expenses are rising faster than people's incomes. Among other things, I guess.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not to mention that bartering may increase...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I can relate to nishikat. If you don't buy a car or house, it's easy to keep bills down because no one really uses credit cards here. Less temptations! My husband and I both work but are "living poor" on one salary and putting the whole of the other into savings. I also took a lower-paying job for the same work because the location was better. I have much less stress now and I find it a good trade-off. We don't need lots of stuff, we don't need to be at the top of the totem pole at work--just need enough for healthy food and plenty of time with family. With that lifestyle maybe we don't feel the pinch of economic ups and downs so much.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The young mom said “Child care, elder care, social welfare are all going to be even bigger burdens for us.” but left out socialized medicine.

John Galt: There is only one burden bigger on a country than socialized medicine: privatised medicine.

Percentage of national GDP spent on healthcare (public/ private combined):

Japan: 10.1% UK: 9.4% Canada: 10.9% USA: 17.9%

Healthcare costs are going to rocket in Japan over the coming years, whatever. It is absolutely essential that they keep healthcare spending under control, otherwise the young are going to drown in a sea of debt if they go down a privatised route - not only servicing current debt levels but also paying out vastly higher insurance costs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nishikat, Your contentment I feel is something that take experience of life, it's trials and tribulations. I have along way to go. I won't pretend I value wealth for all the wrong reasons. But I am realising from recent reunions with school friends, the joy of marriage and children cannot be replaced with the ambition to succeed in one chosen profession.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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