The Washington Post carried a post this weekend suggesting the “last optimists” in Japan were finally abandoning ship. You can read the piece here:
Alas, the key “cog” in this piece is Jesper Koll, a long-term resident of Tokyo who says: “If you speak optimistically about Japan, nobody even believes it. They say, ‘Oh, in 600 years there will be 480 Japanese people left. The Japanese are dying out and debt is piling up for future generations.’ Japan is an easy whipping boy.”
Alas, what the Post doesn’t point out is that Koll and other “professional” foreigners who live in Japan and work in the financial sector are PAID to be optimistic about Japan. There is no equity market for foreign investors in Japan unless someone makes a “bull” case. Koll and Kathy Matsui, for many years the chief “gaijin handler” for Goldman Sachs, could make predictably optimistic (and flawed) assumptions about Japan for years and years without ever being “called to account.”
My favorite of these constructions is that “Japan is turning the corner.” That being the longest corner ever recorded…!
The reality –as the Post is finally learning to accept — is quite a bit more downbeat. But we covered that in our book. The Post reviewed the book when it was published. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/18/AR2006091801192.html
Maybe writers assigned to Japan should read it, too.