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Japan's Economic Stagnation Is Creating a Nation of Lost Youths
By CHARLES HUGH SMITH Posted 7:00 AM 08/06/10 Economy, Careers
What happens to a generation of young people when:
- They are told to work hard and go to college, yet after graduating they find few permanent job opportunities?
- Many of the jobs that are available are part-time, temporary or contract labor?
- These insecure jobs pay one-third of what their fathers earned?
- Poor economic conditions persist for 10, 15 and 20 years in a row?
- The low pay makes living at home the only viable option?
For an answer, turn to Japan. The world's second-largest economy has stagnated in just this fashion for almost 20 years, and the consequences for the "lost generations" that have come of age in the "lost decades" have been dire. In many ways, Japan's social conventions are fraying under the relentless pressure of an economy in seemingly permanent decline.
While the world sees Japan as the home of consumer technology juggernauts such as Sony and Toshiba and high-tech "bullet trains" (shinkansen), beneath the bright lights of Tokyo and the evident wealth generated by decades of hard work and Japan Inc.'s massive global export machine lies a different reality: increasing poverty and decreasing opportunity for the nation's youth.