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  • "A Japan where every person can have hope for tomorrow" sounds like a fairly modest aspiration.


  • But that was the hope that Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, expressed for the new Reiwa imperial era.


  • Associated with the crowning of Emperor Naruhito, the new Japanese monarch, on May 1.


  • For Mr. Abe, awakening a sense of optimism in his fellow countrymen is part of a broader mission.


  • The Japanese prime minister knows that his country faces serious challenges.


  • Including an ageing and shrinking population, a heavy debt burden, and the potential threat of a rising China.


  • The success or failure of efforts to inject new dynamism into Japan will affect the whole world.


  • Japan is the most powerful democracy in Asia, and the third largest economy in the world.


  • So it is crucial for the global balance of power.


  • For Mr. Abe, who's likely to step down in 2021, issues of international resilience and domestic revival are closely connected.

    安倍先生很可能將在 2021 年卸任;從他的角度來看,國際的復原彈性與國內的復甦息息相關。

  • Japan needs to be economically strong and optimistic about the future if it's to resist succumbing to fatalism about living in a China-dominated region.


  • The demographic difficulties that Japan is facing are underlined by official projections.


  • A low birth rate and an aging population means that Japan's population has been declining since 2010.

    低生育率加上老化的人口,使得日本人口數從 2010 年開始下降。

  • It currently stands at a little over 126 million, but official projections suggest that it will fall below 100 million in 2053, and go as low as 88 million by 2065.

    目前日本人口數約為 1.26 億出頭,但官方報告指出 2053 年會掉到一億以下;2065 年會降到 8800 萬的低點。

  • In an effort to respond, the Abe government's tried to make it easier for women to both work and have children.


  • And Japan's also doing more to encourage emigration.


  • But even the modest measures taken so far prove very controversial in a country that treasures its cultural homogeneity.


  • Some government advisers worry that Japan may even fall prey to the populist anti-immigration politics already visible in the US and Europe.


  • A shrinking population is a drag on GDP.

    縮減的人口會拖慢 GDP 成長。

  • And a smaller economy will make Japan's debt burden even harder to manage.


  • At nearly 240 percent, the government's debt to GDP ratio is the highest in the developed world.

    日本政府的國債佔 GDP 比率幾乎達 240%,這是已開發國家之中最高的比例。

  • Government economists worry that the rising medical bills of the elderly will further strain government finances in the coming years.


  • And the fear of higher taxes or even a debt default might also deepen pessimism about the future.


  • And then there's fear of China.


  • The Chinese army and navy are growing rapidly.


  • And the Japanese are painfully aware that modern Chinese nationalism feeds on hostility towards Japan, kept alive by memories of the Japanese invasion of the 1930s.

    而不幸的是日本人相當明白,中國對日本的敵意茁壯了現代民族主義;這種敵意源自於 1930 年代日本的武裝入侵。

  • "No defence that China can devise, be it men or material, can withstand this relentless advance."


  • "Triumph is to the invader."


  • Mr. Abe notes that Japan needs friends, and he's done his utmost to preserve the special relationship with the US,


  • and to build a new special relationship with India.


  • Mr. Abe has his political roots in the nationalist wing of Japanese politics.


  • And he's maintained links to groups that have alarming attitudes to Japan's wartime role.


  • But the prime minister is intelligent enough to understand that in modern Japan, a nationalist needs to be an internationalist.


  • Building alliances and international links that will allow Japan to thrive even as China rises.


  • That challenge is likely to define the new Reiwa era.


"A Japan where every person can have hope for tomorrow" sounds like a fairly modest aspiration.


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令和新氣象,日本的挑戰與契機 (How Japan's new imperial era can bring fresh hope)

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    Jessieeee 發佈於 2019 年 04 月 30 日