February 18, 2017


By Arturo P. Garcia

According to Friedman and Shapiro, ” At first glance, Japan seems to imply a similar level of wealth concentration in certain regions. Like China, Japan is informally divided into regions and sometimes reports data at the regional level.

Japan’s advantage Unlike China, Japan’s wealth is spread much more evenly among its population. On the simplest level, this is easier to accomplish with a population of 127.3 million than with a population of 1.3 billion.

1. But this is not strictly about size. What holds China back is the diversity that results from its size.Japan does not have to deal with the type of coastal-versus-interior diversity that China does.

In the China example, almost every coastal province could be compared with an interior province and a similar gulf would exist. In Japan, only Tokyo is significantly above the mean per capita income of 3.1 million yen for the entire country, and that is due, in part, to the higher cost of living in the city.

But this is not strictly about size. What holds China back is the diversity that results from its size.Japan does not have to deal with the type of coastal-versus-interior diversity that China does.”

The problem with this exposition is that the writer assumed that this problem has never been solved by China. They forgot that China has took steps and for the last 70 years, China has remedied the problem.

Not entirely solved but has bridge the gap between coastal areas and the interior.As if the two writers still lived in the 21st and Mao and the Chinese communist has not been liberated China. Their viewpoint of the two analyst are at best very myopic.

2. Again, the two pointed out, ” Japan’s greatest challenge and Japan’s great weakness is its dependence on imports for food and raw materials. The country’s total food self-sufficiency ratio based on calorie supply was just 39% in 2015. Based on production value, it was just 66%.”

Yes, but the writers forget that Japan has to go to war to seek colonies and wage wars. First i 1905 against Russia to grab Korea. But even before that Japan fought the Sino-Japanese War in order to grab Macau and Formosa (Taiwan) from China from this war that Japan won against China.

Japan joined the allies during the World War I to gain the Germany’s Shantung Peninsula and ganged up with the Axis Power in World War II to gain his own colonies in the Pacific in World War II from 1937-1945.

Thus Japan gained most of China Thailand, Burma, Indochina, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaya, Singapore and the islands near Australia only to be turned back and occupied after World War II.

It was just a blessing in disguise that the long term planning of US Imperialism is to use Japan as a base for its expansion in the Asian mainland. It’s only foothold in South Korea and later Vietnam that the US lost after a 30-year war.

The question is, why is Japan expanding towards Africa and have joined ASEAN? The simple answer is resources and raw materials.

Japan will never be self-sufficient like China which has people and resources. That is the sad truth the two writers want to hide.

3. ” Japan relies almost entirely on imports for staples like wheat, barley, corn, and soy.”

This is the reason Japan imports a lot of grain from the United States and the European union (EU). That is why in the 199’s Japan has to accept the bitter pill of being the US dumping ground for US tobacco and other agricultural products like rice and corn.

How can a country dependent on food import sustain its population and aspire to go to war. Yes, it has to go to war for resources just like it did during World War II.

4. Energy is another example of this dependence on imports. One of the main reasons Japan entered World War II was to protect its access to oil.

But even the authors admit, “Today, Japan is still reliant on foreign sources of energy. Even before the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident in 2011, Japan relied on foreign sources for close to 80% of its energy supply. Since 2012, that number has risen to almost 91% (according to the US Energy Information Administration).”

5. The authors even argue” Some will argue that Japan’s bigger problem is demographics. It is true that Japan has a rapidly aging population. But so does China. Most European countries also face this issue.”

The authors answered their own questions, ” But Japan has options. Japan is one of the top investors in the world in artificial intelligence research, automation, and robotics technology to maintain productivity.

And while Japanese society is homogeneous and relatively unfriendly to outsiders, desperate circumstances could call for desperate measures and necessitate changing policies on immigration.

The broader Asia-Pacific region also offers opportunities for Japan to find workers to address this problem.”

6.In their final comparison Friedman and Shapiro said, ” Japan is the 62nd-largest country in terms of area. It is the 11th largest in terms of population. But neither of these facts disqualifies Japan from rising as a regional power.”

The rationalize, ” Unlike China, Japan has no land-based enemies — it is an island nation. Unlike China, the Japanese government has no concern about its ability to impose its writ throughout the entire country.

Nor does it have to deal with a huge gulf in wealth disparity between regions. Japan has also managed a transition from a high-growth economy to a low-growth economy without revolution.

Japan’s weaknesses have manifested in the development of a strong navy able to guard maritime supply lines. It has also cultivated a tight alliance with a country that will guard those supply lines, the US.

To be clear, China is still a very powerful country relative to most in the world. As such, much of our writing remains focused on understanding how economic problems in China are manifesting in political challenges.

7. In conclusion, Freidman and Shapiro argued, “For now, Japan is less dynamic and important — though it will become more so — and our writing on Japan will increase as it becomes the leading power in the Asia Pacific.”

But let us grant their reasons were right. Japan as an island, like Britain has it’s weakness as well as advantages. Britain flourished when it was with the European Common Market (EEC) or the EU. But now after the BREXIT, their future is gloom.

But the two authors forget that it is US imperlalism that gives Japan a new lease of life and accepted it as a part of their exclusive imperialist club is already in decline.

While the west was deeply embroiled in the quagmire called the Vietnam War, Japan has the time to shine and improved its capitalist economy. That is why it became better in technology and modern improvisation. But once the Vietnam War ended, its crisis began again.

To take its role in the center stage of the world economy is problematic. To be the leading regional Asian power by 2040, I doubt it. China will be its most bitter regional enemy. And don’t discount the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

This is a most interesting chapter in the world stage I am very eager to watch.


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