Japan has been the canary in the capitalist coal mine for some time now. If you want to know the toxicity of advanced capitalism: take a look at Japan. It’s a warning. It’s a cloud. But one with a silver lining. Japan is much deeper than capitalism.
According to the Financial Times (the Japanese owned global newspaper) Japan is hemorrhaging life. It’s “greying” indigenous population – “government data reveal” – is shrinking by 1000 a day. And so capitalists are fretting. The fact that 25% of Japan’s population is above the age of 65, suggests that the growth of the Japanese market is facing a dead end.
Japan however is an export led economy. It’s main markets are abroad. Global demand though isn’t inspiring much hope either. The post-2008 environment is still “sluggish”, “volatile”, “cautious”, “crisis ridden” and “stagnant”. The talk is now about “world wars” and “trade wars” rather than “globalization”. Growth rates of 1% or 2% or even 3% across the capitalist world aren’t enough to avoid the prospect of another dead end market.
For Japanese capitalism this all means recession in the here and now. Indeed since the 2008 economic crash some say that Japan is trapped inside an “epic recession” (a “quadruple dip recession”). The air is toxic. Japan today – the world’s third biggest economy – is experiencing before everyone else the limits of capital. It’s in the unenvious…