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Japan was the future but it's stuck in the past

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johnnyG

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In Japan, houses are like cars.
As soon as you move in, your new home is worth less than what you paid for it and after you've finished paying off your mortgage in 40 years, it is worth almost nothing.

The reporter has been here how long?...and still leads off with this BS meme, using it to set the tone of the entire article?

I wonder how they'd characterize the UK's recent trajectory?
 

Majestic

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I'm slightly upset because I had "fax machines" on my Japan cliche bingo card, and he didn't mention it, so I missed out.

Some of what he says is very true. I think the political establishment has failed to lead effectively into the 21st century, but the rural, conservative, and ageing electorate is satisfied, so in this sense the democracy is working as well/bad as anywhere. Land management, immigration, the national health-care system are all big issues that Japan (and many other countries) need to deal with. The US has a diabolical immigration system, stuck between the realities of a soon-to-be shrinking population, and a significant part of the US electorate that is deathly paranoid of non-white foreigners. The reporter's point-blank question to the elderly townfolk was met with an honest response, "Well, you would need to learn our way of life. It wouldn't be easy.". What did he expect the old guy to say? Or to take the opposite angle, what if the question were, "My non-Japanese-speaking family who has no intention of assimilating to your ways, wishes to move to your little town. How will we be treated?". If you, as a foreigner, went to any small, parochial-yet-picturesque town in the US, and asked the elderly population there the same question, you would be met with the same response.

And the reporter's question to Yuriko Koike... he got a polite, political response, that he didn't really like, but he didn't push her for any more detail. Did he leave his reporter's card at home that day?

I hesitate to dump on him. It's not that his observations aren't valid - they just aren't very extraordinary. If Japan loses 1/5th of its population by 2050, its quite a serious drop, but its still a huge population. What will the population of Germany be 2050? What will the challenges be for Germany, or for the US in 2050. I don't think its very different. Japan will have to reckon with its anti-immigration policy. They didn't do it in the decade this reporter lived here, but it was a decade where there was still a lot of economic activity and great advances in productivity. Hopefully they will deal with in the this next decade.
 

johnnyG

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And since the author/reporter knows chinese and presumably has some broader asian awareness (that there are some other countries nearby?), maybe the birthrate aspect could have been contextualized with numbers from china, taiwan, and korea, then SE asia, and so on.

Maybe the BBC recognized that they needed a fresh perspective here.
 
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