Lessons from JAPAN (日本) – From Magic to Tragic By Phil Manhire JAPAN – a country that is often misunderstood by the rest of the Western world. There are, There is an old expression that states – “There are however, some facts that we know about Japan that stand as a reminder and indeed, a lies, lies and damn statistics”. Whilst it’s a great adage to keep in mind, in this instance, the statistics warning for other nations, including Vanuatu. reveal some interesting “truths” and hypotheses. During the Meiji period from 1868, Japan expanded economically with Vanuatu also has an aging population, even though the embrace of the market economy. Many of today's enterprises were we know that currently, the major demographic is founded at the time, and Japan emerged as the most developed nation under 30 y.o. - the YOUTH of the nation. in Asia. The period of overall real economic growth from the 1960s to the 1980s has been called the Japanese post-war economic miracle; it In spite of the government’s appalling track record in averaged 7.5 percent in the 1960s and 1970s. providing quality health services at grassroots level upwards, modern technology and drugs have had a NOTE: A “market economy” is an economy in which decisions regarding favourable impact on Vanuatu’s mortality rate in the investment, production and distribution are based on supply and 65+ age group. In fact you may be surprised to learn demand, and prices of goods and services are determined in a free price that there are around 150 Vanuatu citizens over system. 100 y.o., approx. 20 of which live in Shefa Province. What lessons can we learn from the Japanese? They have a totally different culture from us and are on the With the continuing advent of improved health other side of the world. By comparison, they have a huge population (approx. 128Billion), are far more technology services, the population at large should continue to savvy and have an excellent education system and infrastructure. live longer. Vanuatu’s infant mortality rate should It mainly comes back to demographics. Now, on first appearances, what follows may seem a little “dry”. also decrease from its current “third world”-type Nevertheless, please take the time to digest it as it will help to clarify the “lesson”. figures. That’s the good news. Japan experienced net population loss The bad news is our literacy rate. Overall – 53%. 80.0 in recent years due to falling birth Let’s be generous and presume that it has increased 70.0 rates and almost no net immigration, (?) to 60% in the past 5/6 years. Even at 60%, this 69.5 despite having one of the highest life does not augur well for the economic future of this 60.0 63.7 expectancies in the world at 81.25 country. The economy, in addition to subsistence 59.6 years of age as of 2006. Based on the farming, needs educated, productive, private sector 50.0 Health and Welfare ministry estimat- people in it to provide the income needs of the entire 40.0 community. Failure to aspire and reach this goal ion released in January 2012, Japan's 30.0 population will keep declining by would ensure the on-going dependency on the 35.4 23.1 about one million people every year in largesse of other countries and hence, the 20.0 24.3 progressive loss of sovereignty. 10.3 the coming decades, which will leave 10.0 4.9 Japan with a population of 87 million Unless the government gets over its political self- 13.2 in 2060. By that time, more than 40% serving approach in favour of one that is nation- 0.0 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 of the Japanese population is serving and starts prioritising the education of “the expected to be over the age of 65. masses”, true economic independence will never 0-14 y.o. 15-64 y.o. 65+ y.o. happen for Vanuatu. Sad to say, all we seem to get As Japan’s working population has declined in numbers over the past is lip-service from most of the pollies. several decades, it is interesting to note what has happened to their sharemarket during this same period – from the Frankly, the only political organ- investors’ “darling” in the late 80’s to the disaster we see today...... ization that appears to give a damn Don’t get me wrong, as well as the is the GJP. With their MP’s allocation including NIKKEI 225 Highest Point demographic influences on the mandatory education financial stimuli, the GJP is markets, there have also been other making a transparent and very real contribution to 45,000 38,915.87 financial factors at work. Neverthe- the educational development of the people. 40,000 less, an aging population combined The global and national economy. The RBV’s latest 35,000 with a diminishing work-force will economic report on Vanuatu can be found by going 30,000 30,159.00 continue to be a major issue for the to the www.themoneyconnection.vu website and 25,000 24,488.00 22,666.80 Japanese economy going forward. clicking on the RBV Logo at the top of the page - it’s 20,000 18,261.98 18,701.30 worth reading. Why? By looking at the report’s 15,000 21,148.00 OVER TO VANUATU and some brief 13,113.32 statistics from the Vanuatu National charts, it’s relatively easy to identify Vanuatu’s 10,000 11,161.71 10,395.18 Statistics Office (VNSO): financial trends. Still, as this is a far-reaching 5,000 subject, in next week’s column we shall be having a 0 ** Note the trend in people over the closer look at Vanuatu’s struggling economy and 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 age of 65 (keep Japan in mind here) what that potentially means for you. The VNSO charts also show that The US officially hit its $16.394 trillion legal debt the average age of Vanuatu st limit on 31 December. As a result, until the debt citizens is 20.5 y.o! ceiling is raised, Treasury is not allowed to borrow Census years 1967 1979 1989 1999 2009 new money to help it pay all the country's financial obligations. Percent of population: Remember who this comic is? Under 15 yrs old 44.80% 45.80% 44.10% 42.70% 40% It’s Ben Bernake, the head of the US Federal Reserve and 65 yrs old and over 2.90% 2.90% 3.60% 3.40% 6%** the same guy who said – “Gold is not money”! Well, apparently Ben’s had a major “senior’s More demographic facts from Vanuatu (Wikipedia), current as at 2006: moment”, again. In an act that would qualify him for AGE STRUCTURE POPULATION GROWTH RATE BIRTH RATE a long-term gig in one of Vegas’ Casinos, now he has 0-14 years: 32.6% (male 34,804/female 33,331) 1.49% 23.02 births/1,000 population come out and stated that the US should dispose of 15-64 years: 63.7% (male 67,919/female 65,138) its “debt ceiling” (an arbitrary borrowing limit set by 65 years and over: 3.7% (male 4,027/female 3,650) Congress). "Raising the debt ceiling gives the government the ability to pay its existing bills," DEATH RATE INFANT MORTALITY RATE LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH Bernanke said. "It doesn't create new deficits. It 7.82 deaths/1,000 population 53.8 deaths/1 000 live births Total population: 62.85 years doesn't create new spending." Male: 61.34 years TOTAL FERTILITY RATE Female: 64.44 years Ahahahahahaha! Now THAT’s funny! Given the 2.7 children born/woman US Government’s track record of economic mis- management over the past few decades, to give the Local languages (more than 100) 72.6%, Bislama 23.1%, English (official) 1.9%, French (official) 1.4% pollies no limit on borrowing would be like giving a LITERACY security job (looking after a warehouse of drugs) to a Definition: age 15 and over can read and write long-term crack addict! Total population: 53% Until next week....... Male: 57% Female: 48% (1979 est.) “HAPPY INVESTING!” firstname.lastname@example.org
"Lessons from JAPAN - From Magic to Tragic"