The EyeOpener- Land of the Setting Sun? Japan at the crossroads

BFP VideoOh what a difference three decades make. Back in the 1980s, as Japanese companies began buying up prime real estate in the US, and the supremacy of Japanese cars and electronics made it seem like the country's economic ascendancy was assured, sci-fi visions of the future imagined a United States dominated by Japanese culture, language and business.

Today, the economic stagnation that has gripped the Japanese economy for the past two decades make such visions of the future seem like the naive dreams of a bygone age, much like how futurists of the early 20th century extrapolated from their own time to imagine fleets of dirigibles carrying passengers across the Atlantic. Just as the trend-spotters of the early 20th century were caught off guard by the jet engine, so too were those predicting the rise of an unstoppable Japan caught off guard by the raising of interest rates and the popping of the bubble, the bailout of the banks, the life support of the zombie companies, and the lost decade…

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this. I wonder if we will eventually see any used cars being driven there. Have you seen an increase in 2nd hand shops?

    In my visits to Japan over the last 12 years, I have seen a continual increase in the amount of homeless people. Though that pales in comparison to all of their neighbors, or to the US.

    The whole world needs to invite some consultation from Iceland.

  2. Bubbles always burst… When will someone figure out how to have a sustainable economy that doesn’t grow and then burst???

    Isn’t there an expression… if it is not growing it’s dying?

    Large complex economies have all sorts of bubbles and grow sectors and then some bursting… but the larger economy manages to weather all of this… except when too many of the bubble (industry/sectors) merge or grow interdependent and then you have cascading systemic and unstoppable failure… fast or slow… it always happens.

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