Japan diplomacy adrift?
News On Japan via East Asia Forum -- Oct 08
By the end of the 1980s, Japan had caught up in technology, productivity and living standards to the advanced economies of the West. After the end of the 1980s boom, economic growth plummeted after the bubble burst in 1991 to an average rate of around 0.7 per cent for the remainder of the 1990s, rising slightly to 0.9 per cent in the first decade of this century.
Those two so-called 'lost decades' have frequently been cited as an object lesson in failed economic policies, from central banking to innovation to failure to reform financial institutions.
Growth remains low and there is a host of challenges facing Japan in the longer term because of its hyper-ageing and shrinking population, high government debt and revolving-door politics. On top of all this, Japan suffered the triple disaster of a massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in March 2011. Not even the triple disaster seems yet to have stimulated the change that many had hoped for. Reform and change seems agonisingly slow.
Yet Japan is a prosperous society. Its people are safer and enjoy greater longevity than the people of most other countries. Its social infrastructure is the envy of the world and unemployment is low. The cities are efficient and clean. It has modernised while maintaining its uniqueness, with Japanese fashion, music and culture (even anime) a major cultural force in Asia and beyond.
|| Nagoya Castle structures restored |
| || At the Nagoya Castle compound in central Japan, restoration work has been completed on the entrance and reception room of the main residential building for the first time in 70 years. (NHK ) |
|| Tokyo cops bust casino in Shibuya |
| || Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday raided an Internet casino in Shibuya Ward for offering illegal gambling. (Tokyo Reporter ) |
|| X Japan waxes lyrical at Madame Tussauds debut |
| || This Monday, members of the seminal metal band X Japan were in Odaiba rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and AKB48′s Yuko Oshima. The catch? They were all made out of wax. (Japan Times ) |