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From devastation in 1945 through vigorous growth and increasing riches to stagnation, is that the story of Japan over the last 70 years? Doubts about Japan’s future seem inevitable. A recent collection of 15 essays by Japanese and foreign experts, “Examining Japan’s Lost Decades,” edited by Yoichi Funabashi and Barak Kushner, led me to review the changes I have witnessed over some 70 years.

In 1946, when I first reached Japan in the small British Commonwealth contingent of the Allied Occupation force, Japanese cities lay in ruins and Japanese people were suffering deprivation and hunger. By the 1960s, Japan had achieved an astonishing turnaround.

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