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In an era when Western business executives and traders obsess over China, and governments focus on ISIS, Syria, Iran and Vladimir Putin, Japan has receded into international obscurity.

16 Comments

Newsweek writer Bill Powell

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Japan has receded into international obscurity.

What myself and other posters have been saying for years -- although I used the word "irrelevancy". Too much arrogance, combined with too much navel-gazing, have turned Japan into a second-tier country as it comes to international importance/relevance. And with a shrinking population and economy, and an unwillingness to look at radical solutions like increased number of immigrants, the slide will likely accelerate. And the 2020 Olympics will simply be an expensive, and short-lived, blip in that trend.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Yup.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Too much arrogance, combined with too much navel-gazing, have turned Japan into a second-tier country as it comes to international importance/relevance.

But, but, but... it's a Normal Country!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

true. but, wait another 20-30 years when the population drops below 100 million and the demographics are 50% over the age of 65 with no immigration. Japan won't fade into obscurity.. it'll become invisible.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Internationally the media has not reported on the events happening at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant nor on the estimated one meter readings that the NRA Japan have posted on their site. Although these event have a global impact that should keep Japan in a negative spot light for the next millennia for local and global impact alone.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

But really Japan has gone into stealth mode. No use getting involved in all those problems in other countries. It is a waste of time and money and they should take care it of themselves. Japan can concentrate on what makes it the world's third largest economy (high tech), and a safe and stable environment for people living here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan can concentrate on what makes it the world's third largest economy (high tech), and a safe and stable environment for people living here.

Gokai,

yes BUT only if Japan were actually doing that, its not, you just have to look around to see poverty is increasing at an alarming rate here, wages/salaries are crap & getting worse, less & less can find FULL TIME jobs even though they are working around 40hrs or more a week. Quality of life is pretty low here & the powers that be seem utterly clueless as to why & why people are not getting together & having kids, seem pretty obvious to me, but to govt still sucking air through their teeth oblivious to the obvious

Japan is getting wrong much more than right, I get no joy pointing that out but sugar coating aint going to help

10 ( +10 / -0 )

GW, as usual, you are spot on.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

GW nails it. Just watch Japanese TV for half an hour to see just how insular the place is. None of what's "big" here bears a mention abroad. How Japan sees itself and how it's seen from the outside are two entirely different things. As much as I love Japan, Tokyo & Osaka aren't what you would call international cities. It's a nation in decline, sadly.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

agree that sometimes seems Japan is going backwards and getting shabbier and shabbier. Nevertheless if you look at the list of issues named in the quote, not sure there is anything wrong with being "obscure" and not involved in those problems

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Where are you guys living? Walk around downtown Tokyo and there is reconstruction everywhere. new offices, condos, shopping centers, parks etc etc etc. Of course, the countryside is being abandoned since Koizumi stopped all the government subsides. That is not a problem (of course, the countriside is vastly overrepresented in the Diet, which is a problem). What is wrong with being insular? We don't bother anyone and they don't bother us. Unless Abe ruins this system.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I agree with GW and others that Japan is in decline. However, I see no reason why "international obscurity" is a bad thing. Lots of great countries in the world that aren't on center stage. And center stage brings lots of problems. Let China and the US waste their money and lives on becoming world "leaders."

Japan will have to hit bottom before waking up again. But then expect a resurgence - not necessarily to a global leader status, but to a pleasant and successful country status. The resurgence should be fairly fast - it's the long slow sinking to the bottom that's taking forever.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan is too obsessed with itself and too busy trying to get 'style points.' They only give lip service to internationally-important problems and give more attention to less relevant topics. They want to be seen as an important player on the world stage but don't seem to want to put in the time, effort resources, blood, sweat, pain, tears, etc. that go with that role. Right now, most people seem to be more concerned with the 2020 Olympics and how Kei Nishikori is doing than with the mess in Fukushima, runaway public debt, a declining birthrate and a whole host of problems that need serious attention.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The West has got it wrong -- utterly wrong.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That is a very poorly thought out statement. Japan is a mature nation that has made the investments to have a seat at the table of developed nations. As the only Asian country to meet this level it has a unique position and anyone ignoring its markets or political developments would be stupid.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gokai,

There is much more to Japan than just the Shinjuku's & Ginza's of the big cities, yeah they are always morphing & the few with ca$h splurge on the newest condo's BUT the stuff that's outside of the cities is in severe decline & we even read on JT about people paying 30-60million on places that they would now have trouble selling for 1/3 what they paid..... THAT is not good no matter how you look at it

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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