Well, it seems that the scorn being heaped on Japan, "the sick man of Asia," by Western economic analysts may be ignorant and short-sighted. In ways that defy the usual economic measurements and statistics, quality of life has improved immensely during the long stagnation of the Japanese economy, according to an article by Roland Kelts, "Turning Japanese: Coping with Stasis: How the Supposed 'Sick Man of Asia' Might Be a Model for Us All."
Young people are returning to rural areas, and small agriculture-related start-ups are proliferating. True to the ancient Japanese genius, there is a new focus on the small, the finite, the local. People are making do with less and are happier for it. Of course, the Japanese government is still frantic in its efforts to rekindle growth with quantitative easing and aggressive interventions in the financial markets, but the country itself, especially the younger generation, is quietly, even enthusiastically, opting for de-growth.
Members of Girls Farm, based in Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture, are changing the image of agriculture. Credit: Girls Farm