Although the word "subprime" may have been understood only by a few industry insiders a few months ago, it is certainly entering the global lexicon with some force these days. Governments around the world have been deploring the state of their economies, usually invoking the dreaded problem as a key factor.

In Japan, recent trends toward isolationism — even xenophobia — are adding a new dimension to the term.

By raising barriers to foreign investment and impeding the flow of foreign nationals, Japan, as a nation, is at risk of becoming a "subprime state."