Japan. Growth in the economy, the world’s largest after the US, landed at a moderate 2.6 percent. The focus of exports was changed so that for the first time in modern times, China was moving on to the United States as Japan’s largest exporting country.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned in September. His departure was driven by several political adversities, but also by deteriorating health. He was hospitalized with the diagnosis of extreme fatigue immediately after his departure on September 12, just one year after taking office.
According to CountryAAH, Tokyo is the capital city of Japan. Abe was more cautious than his predecessor Junichiro Koizumi in relations with China and Korea. He refrained from going to the disputed Yasukuni Temple in Tokyo, where Japan’s war dead are honored, among them several convicted and executed war criminals. Koizumi provoked time and time again the neighboring countries of Japan war with their visits there.
That relations improved was confirmed when China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visited Japan in April. He described the visit as a “success” and talked about friendship in the Tokyo Parliament – but also that the war must not be forgotten.
In March, the Swedish royal couple visited Japan King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia landed shortly after a 6.9 earthquake on the Richter scale that killed nine people, destroyed 25 houses on the Noto Peninsula 30 miles west of Tokyo and caused a minor wreck in the world’s largest nuclear power plant, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa. Queen Silvia said that relations with the Emperor family were “warm” and added that the Emperor “is delighted” in Sweden. In connection with the Linnaeus anniversary, the Emperor couple then made a response visit to Sweden.
Abe did not manage domestic problems as well as foreign relations. Several ministers in his government made unfortunate statements or were drawn into economic scandals that forced them to resign. Health Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa reduced women to “birth machines”, Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma said the Iraq War was a mistake and Foreign Minister Taro Aso diluted the fact that the US war in Iraq was a “very immature operation”. The US protested against the criticism. Kyuma resigned in June.
During the summer, Abe failed to persuade Parliament to adopt an extension of the Japanese navy’s support to US forces in Afghanistan, which was important as the United States is Japan’s foremost ally. He then declared that he intended to remain anyway. But the government was also criticized for neglecting the pension register, where 50 million data on pension rights disappeared. When the election to Parliament’s upper house also became a failure, Abe resigned. 71-year-old Yasuo Fukuda was elected as successor.
The July 29 election involved half of the seats in the upper house. The LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) government received only 37 of the 121 seats. Opposition Japan’s Democratic Party received 60 seats and thus a majority.
Japan was again given a Defense Ministry 60 years after the capitulation. Previously, the function has been called the Defense Authority. However, the relatively low military profile has not prevented Japan’s defense spending from being among the highest in the world; According to the SIPRI Peace Research Institute, Japan ranks fifth in the world in military spending.
There was drama about Japan’s whaling. Japanese vessels set out to capture 800 whales for “research purposes”, despite international protests. The environmental movements Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd tried to sabotage the hunt. The hunt was interrupted, but the Japanese still killed over 500 whales.
Relations with North Korea became better after the hard-line Pyongyang regime finally agreed to shut down its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon. Japan has been greatly distressed by North Korea’s robotic test shootings.
Japan is worried by high suicide rates and decided in April to invest properly in better psychiatric care. 30,000 suicides are committed per year – proportionally more than in other developing countries. The high rate of work should be dampened. At Volvo in Japan, overtime bans were introduced once a month, tangible by darkening the workplace to force employees to go home.
Miss Japan, 20-year-old dance instructor Riyo Mori, became this year’s Miss Universe.
Japan weather in March, April and May
Average daily temperatures between 4 ° C and 23 ° C can be expected over the next three months. It is mildest in May in Fukuoka, while it is noticeably colder in March in Sapporo. Temperatures in Tokyo are between 13 and 23 ° C, in Fukuoka between 14 and 23 ° C and in Sapporo between 4 and 17 ° C.
Do you want to go on a beach holiday? The water temperatures are in March, April and May 5-18 ° C.
In the period from March to May, the sun shines an average of 5 to 7 hours a day. The sunniest weather is in May in Sapporo, but with less sun you will have to get by in Tokyo in March.
In addition to the ongoing financial crisis, Japan has problems with its very high government debt (170 percent of GDP), and a declining and aging population with fewer working people. The government has announced that the retirement age can gradually be raised from 60 to 65 years, and in the longer term to 70 years. In working life Japan has traditionally had a system of lifelong employment, but since the recession of the 1990s this has changed. The companies use temporary workers and temporary workers to a greater extent than before. The proportion of temporary employees increased from 19 percent in 1990 to 30 percent in 2007, so that more Japanese people worked for lower wages and with a feeling of greater security. At the same time, young Japanese people seemed far less attuned to life-long employment, but now changed jobs more frequently.
For the Japanese economy, the “wave of the elderly” is considered a formidable challenge. In the 1970s, Japan had the youngest population of all OECD countries, but in 2015 it was estimated that Japan has the world’s highest life expectancy in the age group over 80 years. This can have major consequences for the social economy and the consumption pattern. In 2000, in Japan, there were four working people for each pensioner; By 2020, under the current system, there will probably be only two working people per pensioner. The retirement age was successively increased from 60 to 65 years from 2000 to 2013, in addition, some pension and welfare benefits were reduced. Calculations indicate that the low birth rate and rapid aging will also result in labor shortages.
A current topic of discussion is therefore whether the world’s second largest economy will be able to hold on to its economic muscles with an increasingly aging population. In 2007, the State Center for Economic Research attracted a report on competitive conditions in 2030: Japan’s real GDP is then estimated to be less than half of India’s and a fifth of China’s. Furthermore, Japan’s population is projected to decrease by over 25 percent – from 127 million today to around 94 million in 2050.
Following a steadily declining trend in the number of children, today only 13 percent of Japan’s population is about 127 million under 15 years. By contrast, the number of Japanese over 65 has been steadily growing and is up 25.9 percent. Among 31 major countries, Japan today has by far the lowest percentage of children. By 2020, the proportion of Japanese under the age of 15 is expected to decline further to 11 percent, while those aged 65 or older will make up 29 percent of the population.
Unemployment peaked at 5.5 percent in 2003, but showed a declining trend. At year-end 2008/2009 it was about 4 per cent, but showed a dangerous increase during the crisis. In July 2009, it had risen to 5.7 percent, the highest since World War II. At that time, 3.6 million Japanese were registered as unemployed. At the same time, Japan’s statistical agency could report that many companies are struggling with large unused capacity and have many redundant workers employed. At today’s production level, the business sector has 6 million more jobs than production requires, the highest number ever recorded.
The difference between goods producing and service industries is significant. In order to face international competition, the industry underwent a somewhat drastic restructuring in the 1990s. The service sector was more sheltered. The result was a service sector that employs 80 percent of the workforce, but with low productivity.
The British Economist Intelligence Unit came in 2007 and 2009 with reports that ranked Japan as the number one in 82 countries in innovation. Japan invests significantly more in research and develops 51 percent more patents than the United States, which ranked fourth. The report predicts that Japan’s share of the world’s total GDP will be reduced from 6.5 percent to 3.5 percent by 2030. Exports are expected to be reduced from 4 to 3 percent of the global total.
Japan was ranked 17th out of 187 countries on the UN Human Development Index in 2013. The country was ranked 15th out of 175 countries on the Transparency International Corruption Index in 2014.