This year, the hottest stock market in the world is Japan's, which has been surging since the election of Abe. I've written about this before but there are messages from their grand experiment worth watching very closely. Sure, the central bank will be taking the Ben Bernanke approach but putting it in a gear that even the Federal Reserve would dare not attempt. But, I think most outside observers are missing the more important element to this latest attempt to awaken the Land of the Rising Sun from its two decade slumber.
I know the rest of the world would rather ignore nationalistic moves in Japan. But I think that Japan probably believes accepting a pacifist role made them weak as a country. Since WWII, Japan has mostly watched the rest of Asia come on like gangbusters. China is an economic powerhouse with dreams of being a military powerhouse. South Korea is a formidable economic rival and this week the world awaits the latest from Samsung ... when was the last time we waited for a new product from Sony?
Then there are the Asian Tigers, India, and other nations all coming into their own. In the meantime, young men in Japan have abandoned a desire for lifelong work and achievement and shun gyms for beauty salons. If Japan is to regain its former glory, it's going to take a lot more than just printing money, especially in a world where everyone is printing money. This is a message lost on America where the Fed's balance sheet has reached boundaries once thought impenetrable.
There has to be an organic movement with a unified focus on greatness.
In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe knows this, and he's been given a mandate by his citizens to make it happen. He has been given a mandate to unlock desire that has manifested itself in a powerful nation but seen ambition spin out of control in the most brutal forms of inhumanity. This is what Japan is dealing with now. It is ironic that the nation that has written off nuclear power after deciding the risks outweighed the rewards, but knew it could leave the island without enough energy to maintain some basic services, is now willing to fire up a different kind of dangerous engine. This is the engine of nationalism.
On Sunday Japan celebrated Sovereignty Recovery Day. It was the 61st anniversary of the nation regaining its sovereignty after its defeat in WWII. While the United States still maintains a military presence in Japan it was 61 years ago the nation was allowed to rule itself, but with a new constitution that muzzled any future military ambitions. It probably muzzled the "fight" in the nation as well.
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