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”Collapsing Japan" Still Has Possibilities for the Future

I published a book "We Hear the Sound of Collapsing Japan" (in Japanese) in June last year.
I wrote the book because I really felt dangers of collapsing Japan under the Hatoyama-Ozawa administration. The new JDP(Japan Democratic Party)government started in September 2009 after the 54years of long rein of LDP(Liberal Democratic Party) with very high popularity of voters. But soon after it started, it disappointed voters in many respects, particularly, diplomacy, security, economic policies and money scandals.

On diplomacy and security issues, the most embarrassing was the incredible attitude of prime minister Hatoyama in handling the issue of transter of Futemma base of US marines in Okinawa which disappointed Okinawans deeply and made them angry,on the one hand, and lost trust of American goverment of the other. The JDP government also handled the issue of clash of Chinese fishing boats to Japanese coast guard vessels in the vicinity of Senkaku islands. The government also was unable to handle well the problems of visit of Russian president to north islands where Japan claims to be Japanese territory. Japan has long been enjoying the peace under the Japan-US security treaty with the backing of the US as the most important ally. Recently, however, it seems that Japan is not guaranteed to enjoy such a stable peace, particularly having such a dangerous neighbor as North Korea. Japan needs a careful, smart, and sensitive handling of security and diplomacy issues with well thought out profound belief to face up the new realities. In this very important phase, the policy handing of the new and inexperienced government is quite worrying.

On economic policies, the new government started claiming that "political leadership over bureaucrats." It sounds good, but the administration made an error of not making use of talents, capabilities, and institutional memories of bureaucrats effectively. The government started without having reliable plans neither on short term and mid-term. They did not prepare sensible and workable "reconstruction plan of the fiscal balance" nor "growth policy plans." The reconstruction plan prepared finally in June last year was only abstract statement without strong and concrete political commitment, and the growth plan prepared about the same time was filled with "dream" like statements without concrete methods and conditions to realize them. On the other hand, the government committed itself to provide rather large amount of money to households raising kids and students as well as farmers. This is perhaps inevitable given the "socialist" nature of the government with the strong baking of trade unions, but the effectiveness of such giving policies is not evident. And ironically, evident is the fact that such spending policies increase the fiscal burden of the nation and runs the risk of increasing the stock of national debt more than the absorbing capacity of the nation.

Question is whether the government and the public will learn lessons from these mistakes or in the minimum inexperienced attempts, and will be able to reconstruct our country for the better future making more clever use of our resources and potentials. I am still hopeful of this positive possibilities. To realize such possibilities, we need many efforts to think broadly and deeply, and overcome disturbances and problems, and work together under right directions with strong wills. I would like to discuss many topics and issues from today with this basic thought in mind.

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