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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: The Long, Slow Decline
From Japan Today: Tatsuhiko Yoshizaki (the executive vice president of something called the Sojitz Research Institute) presented two interesting paths for the Japanese to pursue:

one that situates [Japan] as the world’s No. 2 economy, is ambitious of its role in the world, puts utmost importance in ties with the United States, and competes with China
The other direction [...] focuses on a diplomatic framework that Japan is a ‘‘middle power’’ and sees itself as a reluctant ally of the United States as well as an ‘‘aging and declining power’’ and does not compete with China.
The former scenario is favored by corporate executives and diplomacy experts, while the latter is widely favored by the younger generation and is the direction likely being taken by the current administration under Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama...

Emphasis mine.

The fact that the younger generation favours a comparatively un-competitive path, choosing to ride out the long, slow decline of empire, is at first surprising.  But then I think of my limited experiences with the younger Japanese: content to live at home for most of their lives, flittering from one part-time job to another and generally expressing disinterest in a collapsing system that no longer seems to care about antiquated notions like lifetime employment or indeed worker protection at all.  Yeah, this doesn't seem so out of character. 

I do think it's interesting that he believes young Japanese are even aware of their country's impending decline.  I doubt many in any past-the-hump Western country are aware of this concept.
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