Year’s end finds Yoko Ishikura in a reflective mood (“A long-term outlook for decisions here and now” in the Dec. 11 edition). She feels good about the past year. Japan has a newly enthroned emperor. The Rugby World Cup went well, she believes, auguring equal success for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Japan’s image in the world seems to be improving.

But a recent trip to Israel tells her that Japan must do more. Israeli companies don’t dilly-dally. They’re at the forefront of technological change.

“What kind of country do we want Japan to be in 2030?” is a question she wants Japan to ask right now to lay the groundwork for a more-competitive future.

With memories of Israeli entrepreneurial vigor still fresh, she wants Japan to become a stronger innovator.

But Japan is not Israel. It has its own unique geography, history and culture to draw from.

An optimist looking 10 years ahead might glimpse this set of bright and shimmering images:

The government has changed the laws of imperial succession to allow Princess Aiko to succeed her father.

The Self-Defense Forces are now the Rapid-Response, Rescue and Relief Forces.

The government issues stern advisories to business and industry to reduce environmental pollution so that Japan can take the lead in meeting the existential threats posed by global climate change.

The media, responding to popular opinion, slant their messages to favor adequacy, utility and sustainability over luxury, ostentation and excess.

The Bank of Japan has done away with growth projections, replacing them with reports showing how the steady-state economy is meeting the needs of a shrinking population.

As a global change leader, Japan is made a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.


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.

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