NEW YORK – The pachinko parlor is abandoned and there isn’t much Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda can do about it.
The gambling hall near the rail station in Naie, a town of roughly 5,000 on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, is now a rusted hulk. This community, like many in provincial Japan, has been ravaged by the country’s shrinking and aging population. These challenges spill into all aspects of commercial and social life in the countryside, yet they can seem distant to the mobile-phone tapping professionals in the crowded streets of Tokyo and Osaka.