Japan’s economic problems are serious and getting worse. Foremost among them is the crushing burden of government debt.
To an outside admirer of Japan like me, its opposition to sustainable resource use seems sad and self-destructive. Unrealistic quests for resources drove the country to self- destructive behavior once before, when it made war simultaneously on China, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Defeat today is as inevitable as it was then -- this time, not by military conquest, but by exhaustion of both renewable and nonrenewable natural resources. If I were the evil dictator of another country who hated Japan and wanted to ruin it without resort to war, I would do exactly what Japan is now doing to itself: destroy the overseas resource bases on which it depends.