Abenomics, the falling value of the yen, and fallen yen

Abenomics is now a buzzword both in Japan and abroad, with the current, Shinzo Abe led government, creating a huge stir with its unusually bold economic policies. Understandably the verdict is still out on whether this new approach will be successful or not, but Japan’s message for the G20 that ‘Abenomics is good for all’ managed to escape criticism, and the rapidly weakening yen is there for all to see.

For many, however, such speculation remains of little concern. Likewise the falling value of the yen. As fallen yen are a much greater necessity.

Japanese homeless man squatting and looking for money

Goose stepping Japanese nationalists and a call to arms against China

The yen might well be falling, but due to an island dispute and hawkish new prime minister/long simmering resentment/economic stagnation/sheer idiocy (delete where applicable), nationalist sentiment is going very much in the opposite direction. Or at the very least, public expression of such views is, with shouted attacks and individual hatreds just a few of the scenes I’ve seen of late.

But a goose stepping flag waver heading an (albeit rather small) organised march seemed like a further shift in an already worrying trend.

Japanese nationalists

Particularly so as those behind him were suggesting a call to arms in the country’s aforementioned and ongoing territorial discord with China.

Japanese nationalists

The only blessing being that a brief fracas with a group of angry bystanders and some of the marchers about 5 minutes after these photographs were taken, does suggests that some people at least are having their eyes opened in regards where the country may be headed.

Fukushima’s other victims: dogs

With death, displacement and continued worries about radiation the horrible consequences of the Tohoku earthquake and Tepco’s incompetence, it’s hard to imagine there could be even more suffering. Yet these ‘looking for a new home’ posters, detailing the personalities and approximate ages of dogs also caught up in the disaster, prove that the suffering wasn’t (and isn’t) just felt by humans, but their former best friends as well.

Fukushima dogs

Mount Fuji sunset from Tokyo. A sign of the times?

Autumn in Tokyo may well mean comfortable temperatures and colourful foliage, but it is also the time when Mount Fuji once again makes a welcome reappearance. A sight that simply never ceases to amaze — no matter how far away it might be.

Mount Fuji sunset from Tokyo

Coincidentally, however, this photograph was taken on the day that Prime Minister Noda dissolved parliament — setting in motion another political merry-go-round involving privileged men and equally tired and old policies. A thoroughly dismal state of affairs that is even worse on this occasion as it involves the current and rather incompetent incumbent, along with the favourite and ultra-conservative second stint seeker, Shinzo Abe. Plus, if that wasn’t dispiriting enough, Tokyo’s former governor and unrepentant racist, Shintaro Ishihara, is also waiting in the wings with his new political party. This complete dearth of talented or even slightly forward thinking candidates making a mockery of sorts out of democracy.

So set against this depressing backdrop, the sight appeared all the more poignant; a sign of both the season, and, short of huge political upheaval, Japan’s seemingly irreversible drift into its own sunset.