But inside the borders of this ancient archipelago, self-confidence is scant. While the aftershocks of a collapsing US economy cause tremors throughout the rest of the world, Japan is suffering a homegrown earthquake.
Unemployment stats have hit their highest points since World War II; the government is now subsidizing major corporations to beef up their staff rosters; immigrant workers are being laid off by the score; and the long-standing governing oligarchy, the so-called Liberal Democratic Party, is on its knees.
Hapless Japanese consumers have stopped spending any capital – political or fiscal. And why shouldn’t they? Japan, designed since the end of World War II to be America’s most passive and dependable Pacific ally, has finally hit paralysis.
“What most people don’t recognize,” wrote Masaru Tamamoto, a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, this spring in the New York Times, “is that [Japan’s] crisis is not political, but psychological.” [more here]