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Japan is a developed nation with the numerous problems resulting from a mature society, including a stagnant birthrate, aging population and financial stringency. If Japan can be the first in the worl

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Tomomi Inada, minister in charge of the “Cool Japan” strategy, saying that a redesign of the concept and strategy is needed. (Yomiuri Shimbun)

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...I don't think the the word 'cool' means what you think it means.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

first try stop shrinking & sinking...world will take care of the rest.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan is solving these problems. Its GDP per capita - a measure of living standards - outpaces other developed countries, and the country has seen massive infrastructure improvements in recent years.

"mature society" and birthrates are abstract notions. We've been hearing all the dire warnings. Where and what exactly are the downsides? I ain't feeling them.

Bigger ain't better. It's worse. The world's best countries: Singapore, Norway, New Zealand, Luxembourg. etc.....are small.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If Japan can be the first in the world to solve these problems, that would be extremely 'cool.'

And if pigs had wings they could fly.

Jeff, you keep harping on GDP per capita, but so what? The cost of living in Japan is also among the highest, so the actual disposable income is terribly low. And with so much of these pensioneer's savings tied up in near zero interest paying investments their purchasing power will likely shrink in the future. Bigger may not be better, but smaller, older, and with low real incomes is not better either.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

What is this country's obsession with being "cool"?! Never has been, never will be. Quirky, odd, strange? Yes. Cool? Nope.

And yes, solving such problems doesn't make a country cool. And what exactly IS a cool country?!?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Jefflee - I don't think the problem is size - it's the disproportionate population demographic - the inverted pyramid if you like with the few young people on the inverted peak supporting the masses of elderly on the inverted base.

Such a social structure is doomed - at least within the scope of the world as we know it and can foresee in the near future.

Also as m3m3m3 stated - the use of the term "cool" by bureaucrat types is just so "uncool". They believe coolness is something you can be awarded, win, get or buy. lol

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"If Japan can be the first in the world to solve these problems, that would be extremely 'cool.' "

Perhaps that would be, but I highly doubt that it will.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Japan is a developed nation...." I had to stop reading at that point!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Leave it to the Japanese government to choose a frumpy 55 year old obasan to head up the "cool Japan" campaign.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Good luck fighting the MASSIVE tide of demographics.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What is this country's obsession with being "cool"?! Never has been, never will be. Quirky, odd, strange? Yes. Cool? Nope.

I don't know. They seem to think that because gaijin otaku like some things in Japan that that somehow makes it "cool". They don't realize the difference between "interesting" or "weird" vs "cool". Not to mention the fact that anyone in Japan long enough to talk about "cool" stuff on TV is probably someone that already has an interest in Japan. This ain't gonna translate to your average joe coming for the olympics.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

more weird anaylsis from a Japanese minister. Now if he could find a way to improve the quality of life like a dedicated bike route into Tokyo for commuters and get English to be a second language like SG does, more diversity and internationization, that would be cool, even amazing, but that requires changing up the protected status quo. There will be none of that, just more of the same. Japan is anything but cool, its straight up weird in many aspects due to its continuing emphasis on being different on unique.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

What is this country's obsession with being "cool"?! Never has been, never will be. Quirky, odd, strange? Yes. Cool? Nope.

Honestly? I've never been able to make friends with those weirdos who think that Japan is "cool." I warn my Japanese girlfriends away from guys like that.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Cool? What was the exact word he used in Japanese?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is solving these problems. Its GDP per capita - a measure of living standards - outpaces other developed countries, and the country has seen massive infrastructure improvements in recent years.

Yet the amount of disposable income (money remaining after taxes and spending on normal living expenses) in Japan is nearly the lowest among developed countries. In fact, only Greece and Spain are rated lower than Japan.

The infrastructure improvements were all financed with borrowed money, and are part of the reason that Japan's debt/GDP ratio is 250%. And with the population set to decline by as much as one-third over the next half-century, who is going to use all this expensive infrastructure? Who will pay for it?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Well, Plan A was robots of course, that would have been cool, but it didn't work out. What's Plan B?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry I just DONT see this happening, currently no evidence what so ever that Japan has given any REAL thought to dealing with some extreme social issues that have been starring the country in the face for 3decades straight.

Sadly Japan is more likely going to show the world how NOT to deal with all this, the demographics of this nation are clearly dismal & I predict the birth rate which is already low is going to nose dive in the next 10years.

The future of Japan is very clearly dismal indeed. If I were a young Japanese I would be very seriously investing in ways to depart these isles, as of today there clearly is no future here & the powers that be have simply no clue as to what to do.

Hint, the whole of Japan needs re-invented, life, work, the whole damned thing needs to seriously re-invented!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

For those who don't remember, "Cool London" was used to promote the UK. Japanese politicians, not the sort to come up with any original ideas, just borrowed the concept. The immediate effect of government involvement was to reduce Japan's coolness factor by 20% or so.

Stopping the ridiculous police raids on dance clubs would be cool. Dealing with ageing demographics and a declining economy are important. but not cool. In fact, I think the wrong people are handling these serious issues if they think being "cool" is at all relevant.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@commanteer

Surely it was "Cool Britannia", a play on "Rule Britannia"?

The problem with "Cool" anything, is that "ccol" doesn't really mean anything, even in English, other than "I like it".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yet the amount of disposable income (money remaining after taxes and spending on normal living expenses) in Japan is nearly the lowest among developed countries. In fact, only Greece and Spain are rated lower than Japan.

Could you please provide a source?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@5petals & dcog9065 Not that it is important, but the Minister is a woman, not a he. @GW Couldn't agree more with the reinvention idea. There needs to be a complete overhaul to so many things, but I don't see it happening. I'm trying to get my kids to go to university overseas.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Given the way tourist demographics are changing, why not use Chinese?

"Juemiaode Japan" has a nice ring to it, and the two Js sound "cool". ; )

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Once again, Sangetsu03 racks up the "good" rankings by spouting lies:

OECD: "In Japan, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is 25 066 USD a year, higher than the OECD average of 23 938 USD." http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/japan/

Sangetsu: "Yet the amount of disposable income...in Japan is nearly the lowest among developed countries. In fact, only Greece and Spain are rated lower than Japan."

Hey, go ahead and vote me down, folks, because the truth hurts, doesn't it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

...I don't think the the word 'cool' means what you think it means.

And I could say the same to you. What's not "cool" about solving problems?

@Tessa

Honestly? I've never been able to make friends with those weirdos who think that Japan is "cool." I warn my Japanese girlfriends away from guys like that.

I've come across more otaku foreigners than otaku locals. And you should include girls (women?) too I think. The number of otaku events and followers are growing overseas (see "cosplay" for example), and more and more are coming to Japan.

Which is something I don't mind. I'm not into it. I do watch some animations on TV and have a quick look at the "maids" near the station as I walk past (wondering how it would cost to help with cleaning etc. That's why they're there, right?) and that's it. To each their own.

Oh look, another article to rant over. How nice.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hey, go ahead and vote me down, folks, because the truth hurts, doesn't it.

Japan moved up one spot to number 25 as of July 2014, according to the World Bank, but 25th os nothing to brag about.

<>http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?order=wbapi_data_value_2013+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=desc

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I've never been able to make friends with those weirdos who think that Japan is "cool." I warn my Japanese girlfriends away from guys like that.

Would you actually WANT to be friends with them? I teach a bunch of them and they creep me out - AKB48 pins, folders and T-shirts, card games like they're nine year old boys... The only thing I can think that will survive all this is the plastic doll business.

And I agree, there are A LOT Of these kind of foreigners around. Most of the international students I see at geeky, overweight otaku - often wearing clothing that makes it seem they aren't aware they are overweight. I'm sure they are lovely people on the inside but is this really the demographics Japan wants to market to? Nothing cool about it in my opinion.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@JeffLee

I ain't feeling them.

Just wait until the first set of baby-boomers retire and increase healthcare costs even further. Do you seriously believe there will be no impact from dwindling tax payments from an ever-declining labor force?

I agree that bigger is not always better, small is okay when there is the means to at least self-sustain. However, the ensuing demographic imbalance between the working population and those that will rely on governmental paid resources is frightening.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Surely it was "Cool Britannia", a play on "Rule Britannia"?

@Lucabrasi - That was it, thanks. I had forgotten it myself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Just wait until the first set of baby-boomers retire..."

Exactly. "Just wait until Japan collapses because (FILL IN THE BLANK WITH WHATEVER TALKING POINT IS TRENDY AT THE MOMENT)"

PEople have been giving me a barrage of warning about Japan's "Imminent" collapse for a couple of decades now. One teeny problem: their predictions never come true. Never. Ever.

I mean, come on. Time to get a new worldview, people.

"Do you seriously believe there will be no impact from dwindling tax payments from an ever-declining labor force?"

No, because Japan's obligations are not constricted to tax revenues.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

PEople have been giving me a barrage of warning about Japan's "Imminent" collapse for a couple of decades now. One teeny problem: their predictions never come true. Never. Ever.

Japan DID collapse. It's not a prediction.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan is solving these problems. Its GDP per capita - a measure of living standards - outpaces other developed countries, and the country has seen massive infrastructure improvements in recent years.

JeffLee, Japan's GDP per capita has shrunk 25% in the last couple of years. They're basically back to the 1990's GDP per capita level. I don't know where you're getting the ideal that they're outpacing the OECD. That's just absurd.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Sorry papi. In 1990 Japan's GDP per capita was $25,000. As for current levels, I'll let you google that yourself. Next time, provide links.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

An idiot other countries dont have the same issues

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

mrkobayashi, I said "1990's", not "1990". Have a look at this graph which shows the GNP per capita since 2004. Japan's GDP per capita is around $37400 in 2014, barely couple thousand dollars more than in 2004!

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/japan/gdp-per-capita

So for ten years, Japan has been basically in the same place, so where is this "outpacing" of the OECD in per capita income?

Look at the historic table of per capita income, which shows that Japan's per capita income in 2014 is the same as in 1996.

http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/japan/gdp-per-capita

Again, where is this Japan outpacing everybody?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Anyone who doesn't think the drop in population isn't cause for concern really doesn't seem to "get" how the pension system works. Japan is screwed - clearly "having" to raise taxes (to pay for the military) is proof of that, no?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

French solved it long time ago, giving descent subvention for women who have children, and a free childcare, and educationnal system. Health problem are non longer an issue.

The country is imdebt but, less than USA or Japan for a better success and 2.1 kid by women.

Woman are respected at work even if there is still progress to do. And it is well know that woman who work have more children. Mom at home 1 kid / woman Mom at work 3 kids / woman.

You always love kid more when you don't raise them full time.

Well, here japan would have to content himself to be the second best. :p

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Coolness" is about soft power. Also the US pushed its "American dream" to show itself as "cool" and conquering collective imagination around the world. All the countries "advertise" themselves someway. Anyway, I fell in love with Japan since I was a kid in the 80s naturally, and in my opinion the government don't need to advertise Japanese culture particularly. People who have Japan in their heart know what I mean. It's simple and genuine love.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan moved up one spot to number 25 as of July 2014, according to the World Bank, but 25th os nothing to brag about.

You claimed "Yet the amount of disposable income (money remaining after taxes and spending on normal living expenses) in Japan is nearly the lowest among developed countries" and when JeffLee countered your lies, you respond with GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity. WTF??? Are you for real?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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