Japan Has a New Emperor and a New Era, But a Dark Future

02-May-2019 Intellasia | The Dailybeast | 6:00 AM Print This Post

TOKYOThe name of Japan’s new imperial era, Reiwa, was announced on April Fools’ Day with great fanfare and a great big linguistic lie. The official government party line is that it translates as “Beautiful Harmony,” but what it means literally is more Orwellian: “Commanded Peace.”

Of course, a certain portion of the Japanese population realises that the explanation given for the new imperial name is not the truth, but they probably were not surprised.

Japan has grown numb to the deceptions and lies of its elected rulers. As of January this year, for instance, 79 percent of the Japanese public no longer believed the Japanese government’s statistics, and you probably shouldn’t either.

Everybody lies, they say, but there’s a problem with lying to yourself and to the public, because reality doesn’t listen.

While the Japanese government relentlessly promotes the image of “Cool Japan” and mega-tourism, the current reality is a country run by sociopathic Hitler-loving plutocrats, with plummeting press freedom, endemic poverty, rising censorship, deliberate destruction of public records, continual death by overwork, a corrupt bureaucracy, and a medieval justice system. Despite the triple meltdown of Fukushima, the government is rushing to start nuclear power plants again with reckless abandon.

The population is aging and shrinking. One out of five citizens is now over 70; in 2017, nearly 400,000 more people died in Japan than were born. Abysmal working conditions, low wages, lack of maternity leave (not to mention paternity leave) a chronic shortage of affordable daycare, and excessively long hours virtually ensure Japanese women and men don’t have time to date, mate, or procreate.

Raising a kid alone? Very difficult. If a woman chooses to be a single mother there is a 50 percent chance she will live in poverty. The failure of anything approaching a baby boom over the decades is already invisible. The shortage of workers is forcing many businesses to close.

Women might take up the slack of a worker shortage, but sexism is rampant and gender inequality is institutionalised: Japan ranks 110 out of 149 countries in the World Economic Forum’s global gender equality rankings for 2018.



Category: Japan

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