Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yet another less than optimistic view of Japan's future

Again, what exactly is the government doing? Waiting until disaster is imminent before seriously moving to do something as it has done historically?

Robert Feldman, managing director of Morgan Stanley in Japan, says conservatives in the government and bureaucracy are staging a rear-guard action to defend Japan's old, insular way of doing things. "In the end, what the traditionalists prefer is the current system with themselves in power," he said in his Tokyo office. "For those of us who are concerned about Japan's economy, for its place in Asia and its ability to sustain living standards for an aging population, that sort of traditionalist position is incomprehensible." A 20-year veteran of Japan's reform battles, Mr. Feldman says reform goes through a kind of "hog cycle." When hog prices are good, farmers produce more hogs, so prices go down and they produce fewer hogs. In the same way, government hastens reform when the economy worsens, reform revives the economy and the pressure for reform eases, as it has in the past few years.
...The question is not so much whether Japan can change, but whether it can change fast enough... The Globe and Mail.

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