James Corbett and Michael Welch: Post Fukushima Japan:
Deap seated Economic and Social Crisis. Once an Asian Tiger, the East Asian nation of Japan has labored under a recession which has endured more than twenty years. Adding insult to injury, an earthquake and typhoon two years ago ravaged the country and crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. The resulting radiation leaks left people in the vicinity to cope with the fall out, societal and literal. A right of center government, led by Shinzo Abe is now in power. The Abe government, working with Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Koroda has instituted a Quantitative Easing program, in which the Bank of Japan is doubling the country's money supply, and buying up the lion's share of newly issued government bonds. The moves resulted in an increase in the value of Japanese stock prices. Capital spending, however, remains weak and the debt to GDP ratio is estimated to be over 245%. These kinds of realities causing some to question whether the fundamentals are in place for an economic recovery, or whether the country is setting itself up for another major crisis. The precipitous 7.3% drop in the Japanese Nikkei stock market index on May 23 is not a promising sign. Then there is the wider regional and global context. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in which Japan will soon be the twefth partner, the Japanese Chinese jurisdictional dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, the US Asia pivot, and the drama around North Korea, all factor into Japan's political landscape. James Corbett has lived in Japan since 2004. He is a GRTV producer and Global Research, journalist, researcher and broadcaster. His website Corbbettreport.com has been providing independent political and economic analysis since 2007. Corbett will spend the entire program providing his insights on what has happened to Japan, and where this unique island nation may be headed.