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Japan's Demographic Death Rattle In 3 Charts And 333 Words

Tyler Durden's picture





 

Courtesy of Bloomberg's Michael McDonough, here is how the end game for demographically defunct, deflationary debt holes such as Japan looks like extrapolated into the future. And for the time-strapped it is condensed into 333 words and 3 charts.

Via Bloomberg Brief:

In less than two years, more than one in four Japanese citizens will be over the age of 65, up from one in five in 2006 and one in 10 in 1985. The proportion of the population over 65 is expected to swell to 30 percent by 2022 and to 40 percent by 2050, according to government estimates. This will put the country as a whole in the demographic range of the prefectures that experienced the sharpest declines in growth in the decade ended 2009.

Fewer workers and less labor will reduce the potential output of the Japanese economy, which will increase the country’s reliance on imports as retirees continue to spend, inhibiting GDP growth. The rising number of retirees will strain the government’s welfare programs and the country’s pension funds, which have been major buyers of government bonds. Japan already maintains the world’s second-largest debt load in nominal terms at more than $13.7 trillion and growing.

The government sees this problem. Last week, Japan’s lower house of parliament passed a bill giving private-sector workers the right to remain at their jobs until the age of 65, rather than the current 60.

Japan’s demographics will also likely have an impact on consumer behavior. Japanese consumers older than 65 are less likely to shop for alcohol, clothing, books and electronics compared with younger consumers, according to a McKinsey survey from 2011. The average senior shops for books and clothing 38 and 35 times per year, respectively, compared with 73 and 58 times for people between the ages of 18 and 34. The only item seniors shop for more frequently than younger consumers is food, McKinsey found.

How Japan faces its demographic challenges over the next several decades may provide important lessons for countries
such as China, which has a rapidly increasing senior population due largely to the one-child policy. People over 65 account for nearly 10 percent of the population in China — similar to Japan in 1985 — up from 6 percent 20 years ago.

 


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Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:00 | Link to Comment malikai
Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:47 | Link to Comment Precious
Precious's picture

Oh no!  By 2050 Japan will have the same number of people as South Korea !

Until then ... all those damn old people.   Who will take care of them? 

Anyway, Japanese only copy stuff.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:52 | Link to Comment MillionDollarBoner_
MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

Robots, Bitchez!

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:56 | Link to Comment TrillionDollarBoner
TrillionDollarBoner's picture

That's a darn small boner you have there

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:57 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Yeah.....but it glows in the dark.

 

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:57 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Be nice, can't you see the man lost a ball?

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:26 | Link to Comment Precious
Precious's picture

You didn't make that account.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:51 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Yup, Japanese workforce has long been button pushers on massive robot-ized factories anyways. First Fondly Provided by FANUC+GE+GM, + Mr. Deming of course.

Robot nation indeed.

ori

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:59 | Link to Comment Gavrikon
Gavrikon's picture

A horribly overcrowded country is going to become less so, while seniors are assisted by their robots and automated labor saving devices.

What's not to like?

Oh, excuse me.  I forgot.  It isn't Die-verse enough.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:15 | Link to Comment CptNerd
CptNerd's picture

Only the Tokyo and Osaka megaplexes are "horribly overcrowded", and they seem to handle it well.  I rode out into the countryside to the north and most of the country outside of cities is no more "overcrowded" than rural Ohio or Indiana.  Tokyo is like a Los Angeles-sized Manhattan Island, but it's nowhere near a "Make Room! Make Room!" dystopia.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:53 | Link to Comment Snakeeyes
Snakeeyes's picture

Charming.

 

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:15 | Link to Comment Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

From an analytical standpoint, Figure 1 is poorly constructed as the independent variable (in this case age) should be on the x-axis and the function of x (f(x), GDP) should be the vertical axis.  Someone at Bloomberg must have been sick the day they taught this in Junior High School.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 14:56 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

It's free. Turn your head sideways.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 13:10 | Link to Comment timbo_em
timbo_em's picture

Long adult diapers, short baby diapers! That has to be the no brainer trade of the decade.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:53 | Link to Comment Haager
Haager's picture

There is one simple solution: Back to work, folks! OK, you may take hold of your wheelchair, otherwise use the walker.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:13 | Link to Comment Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

An even more effective measure is DYING AT WORK. Make no mistake, this is where we are all headed IF we can find work.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:20 | Link to Comment JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

In the next couple of decades, energy will become so cheap and nanotech manufacturing so individualized that people wont need to spend much money and the need for cash will diminish also.

But without this in perspective, the future does seem rather dismal.

Cheer up.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:43 | Link to Comment Haager
Haager's picture

How comes that my view at least on the price of energy does differ that much?

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 10:34 | Link to Comment JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

Not sure exactly what you mean, but you seemed to be caught up in this dystopian view that the future is all pain, misery and despondence.

Technology is about to make all our old problems obsolete because we will have abundant and cheap energy and personal manufacturing of what we want when we want it in our own homes. By 2030 no one will be worrying about unemployment. If you dont work but three months out of the year that will be fine for everyone except those driven by things other than a desire for money.

Those who work will largely do it for the love of what they do at work.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:23 | Link to Comment duo
duo's picture

Japanese old people are infinitely more fit than their US counterparts.  Diet and walking to pretty much everything have a lot to do with it.  I don't think an elder Japanese would expect a free knee replacement if it meant one of the youngest generation wouldn't be able to afford college.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:09 | Link to Comment Thisson
Thisson's picture

You're close.  The solution is to stop subsidizing non-productive classes and giving them free stuff.  It makes no sense for us to try to prolong life expectancies to 100+ years with socialized medicine and entitlements when people cannot produce and save enough, during their lifetimes, to sustain them to those ages.  Working for 40 years, then having a 40 year retirement, is not possible.  People need to have an incentive to live healthy lifestyles and save for their own futures.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:54 | Link to Comment mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

The government sees this problem.

 

Yes, like the First Officer saw the iceberg right after he heard a loud crunching noise...

It's nothing a gold medal in women's soccer can't fix, right?

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:54 | Link to Comment Praetor
Praetor's picture

How about three words: They are fucked.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:59 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Your Nobel Prize is in the mail.....hell why not? Everyone else is getting them.

 

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:01 | Link to Comment _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

sorry, you will have to bribe your way to a Nobel prize nowadays

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:11 | Link to Comment gaoptimize
gaoptimize's picture

I think I might share William Bonzai's perspective on this when I say the GDP is the second worse consequence of this.  The most tragic is the decline in the number of beautiful, intelligent, creative, gentle and loving Japanese women.  A while ago, I saw a video of this beautiful lactating Japanese woman absolutely gushing and squirting milk from her large vascular breasts while getting off on a vibrator.  Unlike GDP, this life-creating and nuturing beauty can not be replaced as it diminishes.  No, humanity is fucked as Japan declines.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:00 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Are you sure you weren't watching Hentai ?

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:16 | Link to Comment MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

For every one of those you have a tubgirl or an eel shooter...  definitely a mixed bag...

aside from the whole sex cry/whine thing...

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 14:58 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Cultural phenomenon. Once they go abroad, they're almost as stone silent as any English girl.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:44 | Link to Comment Precious
Precious's picture

99% of that shit is non-Japanese claiming to be Japanese.  But how would you know, from your room.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:32 | Link to Comment Itch
Itch's picture

There is too much fantasy in that society, too much bullshit. There is nothing wrong with the women at all, they are all full of energy. Its the men, they are all playing fucking pokemon and wearing diapers to discos. The men have been feminised somehow, limp...personally i think they are hung up about their pencil dicks, but that’s another topic.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 17:22 | Link to Comment Precious
Precious's picture

I don't know about all that, but I can guarantee you that no Japanese guys want to fuck your fat American daughter.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:55 | Link to Comment youngman
youngman's picture

"as retirees continue to spend"....only on rice and fish......they are not going to buy much more....and the bonds will have to be sold to pay their pensions....immigrants...no way...Japan is a closed society..can they change that....doubt it..

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:57 | Link to Comment mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

and the bonds will have to be sold...

 

Them words will earn you the "terrorist" label, mon ami.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 15:04 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

"The average senior shops for books and clothing 38 and 35 times per year, respectively, compared with 73 and 58 times for people between the ages of 18 and 34."

I don't think I've shopped for those items that many times in 10 years - books are free these days (but I lost all mine in a boating accident!). Japan was the proving ground for consumerism, they got it fastest, hardest, and if you please, best-est. And now it's time to pay the Kabuki piper. And yes, their young people, differently for either gender, were thrown under the Keynesian bus. Are they not so very like us...

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:56 | Link to Comment mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

 

 

"We've fallen and we can't get up."

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:56 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Quick, what's Japanese for "Running Man"?

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:27 | Link to Comment Mercury
Mercury's picture

Death rattle? - not quite.

All age-related demographic problems are temporary by definition.  Eventually we will envy their demographics. And, if they're lucky, the Japanese may actually come to appreciate the considerable downside of the comprehensive welfare state before we do - and adjust accordingly.

The Japanese will ride out this particular problem better than the US because they are much more amenable to the idea of sacrificing for their neighbors with whom they have more in common than most Americans do with each other.

One day Japan will have a smaller, much younger population with strong, common cultural ties to each other and The US will have an increasingly Balkanized (but diverse!) population that is unassimilated to a common set of cultural values/standards and very distrustful of other groups with whom they constantly fight and compete for government favors.

And since Japan doesn't really really do immigration they are a good control group in this context.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:40 | Link to Comment Uchtdorf
Uchtdorf's picture

When the US military is getting its tail kicked in the Mid-East and southern Asia, the remaining troops in Okinawa will be unable to defend the Japanese mainland. Japan will then be controlled by a larger neighbor. 1000 bonus points to anyone who can guess who that might be.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:53 | Link to Comment Mercury
Mercury's picture

That's certainly a possibility...the old grudge match.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:13 | Link to Comment Thisson
Thisson's picture

No, because when the US defaults, China will idle its factories and will have massive unemployment and social unrest.  So they will be busy stabilizing their own regime and won't have the ability to repress Japan.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 14:29 | Link to Comment Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

Who's to say the Chinese won't keep their factories running and stabilize their regime by invading Japan?

I could be wrong, but history provides many examples of precisely this kind of warmongering.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:24 | Link to Comment JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

The Japanese will ride out this particular problem better than the US because they are much more amenable to the idea of sacrificing for their neighbors ...

Are you suggesting the old will simply commit mass suicide?

Lol, why cant Malthusianists eve lead by example?

 

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 12:21 | Link to Comment Mercury
Mercury's picture

No, I'm saying they will endure austerity and "shared sacrifice" better than Americans will.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 10:27 | Link to Comment JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

Why isnt your statement an example of cultural bigotry?

Why do you make broad statements about 'Americans' as though we are all the same? Some of us will suffer, most of us will do well anyway and then help the ones who need it. What you say is true on average, but a person with the left hand in boiling water and thier right in liquid hydrogen should be OK on average, so averages dont really mean anything significant necesarily.

No nation that has a negative population growth rate is successful, happy and prosperous. The former is usually caused by the latter, but there is some causal looping in there as well.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 15:19 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Sure we share common values! Hope, change, your EBT balance, fairness, shared sacrifice, all that good stuff Obomba ignorantly prattles on about week after Kafkaesque week.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 08:58 | Link to Comment KidHorn
KidHorn's picture

The solution is to allow immigration. Like how the US allows young mexicans in. Otherwise we would be in a similar situation. Not that we're not screwed anyway.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:04 | Link to Comment aerojet
aerojet's picture

The social consequences of letting in Mexicans is mind-boggling.  You have to remember that in the non-politically correct days of yesteryear, when the US was far less populated than now, Americans considered Mexicans to be something along the lines of cockroaches that needed to be swatted before they got across the border and established a foothold. 

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:23 | Link to Comment Coreadrin
Coreadrin's picture

Yes, and now Mexico's economy is actually expanding, capital is moving into the country, their demographics are extremely healthy on the long term, prices are still cheap and investment bargains can be had.  To top it off, they are considering legalizing drugs completely, which will destroy the violent crime.

Meanwhile the rah-rah's in the good 'ol USofA want to lock the gates.  You won't have to.  Immigration rates are down like crazy over the past decade (opportunity?), and the only thing left keeping people piling to get in is that they can land with their hand out.  The US is attracting a wonderfully massive class of parasite voter to keep existing power structures "legitimate" (majority consensus), while the ever shrinking pie keeps on withering.  The number of professionals immigrating to the US, the number of business owners, is dying off.

The US is a culture in decline.  It is Rome, it is the British Empire, it is Bohemia.  All of the EXACT same policies have been adopted by the political class, only this time the entire globe is awash in more debt than at any time in human history, and this by a long shot.  There are not too many opportunities left, and, sadly, they are not on home turf...

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:53 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

"Immigration rates are down like crazy over the past decade"

PLEASE!  Please qualify these terms!

There has been NO reduction in the legally set immigration numbers.  I suspect you might be meaning "illegal" immigration.  This is a BIG difference!  Being loose with such terms tends to breed ignorance in folks, to the point that they do shit like what just occurred in Wisconsin.  I am ADAMANT about this as I have a spouse who LEGALLY immigrated.

"The US is a culture in decline."

The US has a culture only in the loosest of sense.

"Decline" is a decline in/of GROWTH.

"The number of professionals immigrating to the US, the number of business owners, is dying off."

A "number" is dying?

"The US is attracting a wonderfully massive class of parasite voter"

This seems to contradict your statement "Immigration rates are down like crazy over the past decade"

I think that this is a more correct version of this:

The US is CREATING a wonderfully massive class of parasite voters

(and I'm sure that it's Obama's fault)

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 15:21 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

You mean Bush's fault.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:17 | Link to Comment dugorama
dugorama's picture

actually, net immigration from MX is now negative:

http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/04/23/net-migration-from-mexico-falls-to-zero-and-perhaps-less/?src=prc-headline

 

and it's not because of any Alabama concentration camp policies, but because the Mexican birth rate has now fallen to replacement levels - the same as the US.  Of course, 11% of all people born in Mexico still alive currently reside in the US.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:14 | Link to Comment Precious
Precious's picture

STFU you moronic, ivy league amateur.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:23 | Link to Comment rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

Kidhorn

 Selective well-managed legal immigration could help Japan.

NOT like the unselective, ill-managed, extra-legal but condoned immigration into the USA.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:01 | Link to Comment rustymason
rustymason's picture

Demographic problem? No problem. Just bring in a zillion foreigners and that will fix everything forever. Worked for the West, didn't it?

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 13:24 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

That is not demographic problems. Currently, those are consumption problems.

But hey, when it comes to stuff like that, US citizens tend to consider humanity as a whole.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 13:42 | Link to Comment Mad Cow
Mad Cow's picture

The subroutine brackets this sauce into the perceived scene. An incoherent syndrome overflows beneath the ethic.

Plop!

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:03 | Link to Comment FubarNation
FubarNation's picture

Older Japanese are far more healthy than their American counterparts.  Since health care costs are much lower near the end of life they will weather the storm better than Americans.  

Plus the fact that the culture takes better care of their elderly (usually live with Families and not in some shitty Nursing home).

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:10 | Link to Comment Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Americans are not Japanese.  However this plays out for Japan, the outcome for the US will be far worse.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 17:25 | Link to Comment Precious
Precious's picture

Americans are not Japanese.  Americans are Mexican.

Look at the new GM models.  Taco tank Escalades.  Everything is a fucking low rider on hot-wheels.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:55 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

"the outcome for the US will be far worse."

Oh, do tell!  I'd love to see how you're playing this!

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:19 | Link to Comment Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

For example, the Japanese did not have to make a meaningful investment in lead.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:57 | Link to Comment Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Absolutely correct Fubarnation.  Demographics IS FATE.  We won't be exactly  duplicate but we will rhyme quite nicely.  However, the drag on our economy RIGHT NOW from health care costs is crippling.  Just wait until our AGE WAVE hits after 2020 with millions of sendentary, cheese doodle eating, American Idol, NASCAR watching fat asses hit that ever crumbling system.

We have two stark choices.....total government control of health care and wealth management.....or collapse from austerity measures....followed by total government control of health care and wealth management.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:05 | Link to Comment Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

"Fewer workers and less labor will reduce the potential output of the Japanese economy, which will increase the country’s reliance on imports as retirees continue to spend, inhibiting GDP growth"

So......their goal is to be the United States Economy, then?

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:06 | Link to Comment Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Japan is the world's biggest test tube. First, they test the death economy of deflationary forces through the use of QE and next, the management of population loss on productive output that will come from the reduction in global population through war, famine and disease. 

The Elites leave nothing to chance and with Japan's aging demographic, it is the perfect test.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:25 | Link to Comment dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Don't forget:

"How to live and work in a nuclear wasteland."

The Japanese have tested that one and continue to test that one.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:56 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Made in the USA!

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:08 | Link to Comment Hype Alert
Hype Alert's picture

Sounds like they've rejected the Ponzi Population Growth Scheme.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:28 | Link to Comment three chord sloth
three chord sloth's picture

Yeah, but they kept the Ponzi Money Scheme. Oops!

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:18 | Link to Comment RKDS
RKDS's picture

They keep saying Greece is America's future.  That's only if we're dumb.  Japan is our future if young people in this country react rationally to the pressure put on them by the people who've put them $15T in debt.  Longer hours, lower pay, and less security?  Fine, no time, money, or stability to raise a family then!  Gee, you don't suppose that might have consequences, do you?

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:36 | Link to Comment SokPOTUS
SokPOTUS's picture

You are forgetting that young 'meerikans are now blowing the worlds biggest tatoo parlor bubble in history...  that'll keep the economy going for a couple more years; when it bursts, the laser tatoo removal bubble will get going, courtesy of QE 16 Trillion.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:59 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

"when it bursts, the laser tatoo removal bubble will get going"

And it'll be done by robots! (texting is going to kill our [humans'] main advantage- use of opposable thumbs!)

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:18 | Link to Comment Thisson
Thisson's picture

It is definitely true that family formation is suffering.  Successful professional parents realize that you need an (expensive) education to make it these days, and that they can afford to provide this expensive education to fewer children while saving for their own retirements.  They are choosing to have 1 child instead of 2, or 2 instead of 3.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 15:43 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

That plan ... it will not work. They are doing us all a big favor and, with each generations, slowly going extinct by their own volition. It is the eugenicists' perfect nightmare, the West's "best and brightest" being the only ones foolish enough to literally sacrifice their future and practicing the equivalent of voluntary sterilization. Some fools say delaying reproduction, and/or "family planning," is making a sacrifice for the future, it is actually a sacrifice of the future. I say, good, let them.

"Successful professional parents realize that you need an (expensive) education to make it these days"

Some are very thankful for these "professional parents'" cooperation in this grand demographic experiment by which this ditch was dug.

To the topic at hand, Japanese family formation is a comatose patient on life support. Males don't want to marry, actually can't afford to, and can't get marriageable women; most don't want many kids either. Females don't want to marry, think they can't afford to, and can't find marriageable men; most want 1 kid if any. Why can't they find marriageable partners? We don't ask such questions, for we may upset someone's feelings (but the answer is: gender roles have changed, but they have not, nor have they been allowed to, find a new equilibrium - judged by the number of marriages and/OR number of offspring). It has been observed by the modernists, notably including Marxists, that Western civilization's greatest flaw is that (relative to the 2nd and 3rd world) it cannot reproduce; in a productivist worldview, reproduction is king.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:17 | Link to Comment youngman
youngman's picture

They can do a couple of things...change that 65 to 105 years of age you HAVE to work...or they can start another war and bring back the slaves to work for them like WWII

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:31 | Link to Comment HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

This assumes that Japan has a future post Fukushima Quake Part Deux.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:16 | Link to Comment mirac
mirac's picture

expect it...syonara Tokyo

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:43 | Link to Comment BlackVoid
BlackVoid's picture

Economic collapse is coming on a much shorter timescale.

That will shorten life expectancy (to put it mildly) signigicantly.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:46 | Link to Comment NotAnAvgBeanCounter
NotAnAvgBeanCounter's picture

I would love to go to Japan; if I only spoke the language and understood the culture; if not there then Switzerland, or an Island of the coast of Europe.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 19:52 | Link to Comment CptNerd
CptNerd's picture

Japanese isn't that hard a language, it's got very rigid grammar rules, I started learning when I was 48 and at 54 I can handle general basic conversations and read a bit of signage, and that's while still immersed in English.  If you went there you'd pick it up much quicker.  Culturally it's very conservative, but also quite loose, just differently from the West.  Order is vital, everything has a place including lunatic behavior, and as long as you pick up the boundaries you have no problem.  The people are polite because that's how you treat guests, and they take pride in making sure things work, because otherwise it burdens others.  

Learn about 6 or so useful politeness words and use them (sumimasen - "excuse me", domo or domo arigato - "thank you", kudasai or onegai, "please", and a few others), and you'll go far.  Of course, that's really the case with any country and their language, but still.  There is still xenophobic attitudes among mostly the older people, but even then there are some old folks that love to strike up a conversation in English.  

A lot of the culture reminds me of when I was a kid back in the 60's, they even still have full service gas stations with attendants that come out to pump your gas, clean your windshield, check your oil, and check traffic so you can leave safely.  They are firm believers in "convenience" too, with vending machines on every block at least, and at least 4 convenience store chains, usually one every kilometer or so.

It's not that expensive, once you learn where the cheap food places are you can live quite reasonably, just like anywhere, don't eat where the tourists eat, eat where the locals go.  If I ever get on my feet financially again, I'll be going back more often.  I'm glad I won't live long enough to see the demographic bottom that's facing them.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 09:58 | Link to Comment SoNH80
SoNH80's picture

Following this logic, Nigeria should be enjoying record prosperity, what with its 5.7 fertility rate and projected population of 790 million.  I'd rather be a dog in Osaka than a doctor in Ibo, Fukushima or no Fukushima.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 13:25 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Much better to inherit from thieves than to inherit from thieved...

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 13:45 | Link to Comment Mad Cow
Mad Cow's picture

The bit agenda steams the cake before a solid dump.

Plop!

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:02 | Link to Comment Dareconomics
Dareconomics's picture

Japan has issues. A rapidly aging population is set to bankrupt the country. The Japanese have maintained a high savings rate for years, but this phenomenon has ended. The post-war Japanese baby-boomers are retiring in droves. Retirees do not save, so Japan needs another way to finance its large budget deficits.

Either the Bank of Japan will have to let rates rise to attract foreign investors...

http://dareconomics.wordpress.com/

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:03 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

"the Bank of Japan will have to let rates rise to attract foreign investors"

Make that "stupid foreign investors."  There's not enough out there to purchase the world's debts.  And this is only going to get worse.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:23 | Link to Comment Thisson
Thisson's picture

Those savings haven't been used to increase the production of goods and services;  Instead, they have been squandered.  That's the root of Japan's problems (and ours here in the US as well).

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 15:06 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Production requires raw materials.  The US has materials, but not enough to keep the perpetual growth-machine going.  Japan?  Not so much.  Being an export-driven country that is highly dependent on importing raw materials is a bit problematic.  The music was always going to stop...

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:11 | Link to Comment Lost Wages
Lost Wages's picture

Godzilla = Debt.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:22 | Link to Comment shuckster
shuckster's picture

All economic issues will go away once we dump the economists in the ocean

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:29 | Link to Comment Reptil
Reptil's picture

pfff these charts are based on a reasonably healthy living environment.

this is Japan, lots of variables are hidden.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:06 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Time to bring it up again...  Japan is a SMALL island that has little in the way of natural resources, especially ones that are used in today's world.  It was only ever a question of WHEN rather than IF.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:24 | Link to Comment Thisson
Thisson's picture

Perfect spot to start a Tax Haven and compete with Switzerland, etc. 

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 11:37 | Link to Comment Pairadimes
Pairadimes's picture

They are going to need more Walmarts for these retirees to work as greeters in.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 12:01 | Link to Comment steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

Japan's great problem is its 51 more or less functioning nuclear power reactors. Lessor problem is dying auto industry, a world-wide phenomenon.

 

Japan has 4 reactors that are currently blown up and spewing rads like milk from lactating breasts on a Japanese porn star.

 

What happens after Japanese reactors become unprofitable and cannot be subsidized by 'other activities' (Toyota)? Will they will be abandoned to blow up later? What sort of 'business activity' will subsidize the cleanup @ Fukushima Daiichi or will that facility slowly contaminate the entire country? Bet on contaminate, bet on abandoning big parts of Japan.

 

Those porn stars better start fucking furiously ... it's the only hope they've got!

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 13:08 | Link to Comment patb
patb's picture

steve is right, but really needs to expand.

 

the fukushima reactor failure will dramatically reduce the fertility rate of the japanese and dramatically impact the health of the young.

 

right now the reproductive rate is 1.2 children per woman,  that rate could fall to 0.7 or 0.9

 

worse the number of healthy children could fall 50-70%

 

i would expect in a generation most of the kids in the north to be very sick and the kids in the south to be somewhat sick

 

they should evacuate their children and women to okinowa or to th US

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 15:10 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Lower reproductive numbers were a certainty given that Japan's environment isn't capable of supporting the numbers of people currently there.  The "health" issue, however, will be extremely tragic.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 13:08 | Link to Comment patb
patb's picture

steve is right, but really needs to expand.

 

the fukushima reactor failure will dramatically reduce the fertility rate of the japanese and dramatically impact the health of the young.

 

right now the reproductive rate is 1.2 children per woman,  that rate could fall to 0.7 or 0.9

 

worse the number of healthy children could fall 50-70%

 

i would expect in a generation most of the kids in the north to be very sick and the kids in the south to be somewhat sick

 

they should evacuate their children and women to okinowa or to th US

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 12:14 | Link to Comment Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

Population stabilization is the only way, long term. Better sooner than later.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 13:21 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Consumption.

A steady number of US citizens will have increasing consumption rate. So...

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 16:28 | Link to Comment Mad Cow
Mad Cow's picture

An east lump retires the arithmetic. Then...

Plop!

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 20:00 | Link to Comment CptNerd
CptNerd's picture

Anata no atama ga sugoku warui da, to omou...

(sorry for the romaji, your site doesn't do unicode...)

 

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