Not so fast with the setting sun

Nagasaki

Regarding Kevin Rafferty’s Nov. 15 article, “Japan’s sun is setting quickly“: For the past 18 years, Western journalists have been predicting doom and gloom for Japan, but they now sound very frustrated that it is not happening.

Rafferty makes a hypothesis but fails to prove anything in his article, which is nothing but a compilation of already published news. There is nothing new in it. Rafferty doesn’t seem able to comprehend the real reason for Japan’s problem.

Japan has debt, but it is not comparable to the debt of either Greece or even the United States. Japan’s debt is internal. It is still a massive owner of net foreign assets, while the U.S. and Greece are net foreign debtors. Greece is very different in that much of the money that Greece borrowed was stolen by Greek tycoons who own some key banks in Switzerland plus an important airline.

Japan has no such problem, as it has not taken out foreign loans. Japan’s problem is caused by the free trade regime pushed by the World Trade Organization, under which Japanese producers operate in China and export Chinese products to Japan, thus destroying jobs in Japan. The U.S., Britain and Australia, along with developing countries like Mexico or India, have the same problem.

The dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea should be viewed as a boon for Japan, as Japan can feel justified in refusing imports from China. That might force some Japanese producers to come back to Japan to create more jobs as well as weaken China’s financial ability to cause mayhem in East Asia.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

dipak basu