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Why the Media's Silence on Japanese Protectionism Gives Trump Another Priceless Opening
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In few places has Donald Trump’s rise caused more unease than in Tokyo. Indeed it is probably safe to say that, underneath an ostensibly imperturbable exterior, top Japanese officials are running far more scared than even Trump realizes.

They have a lot to be scared about. Much of what the Washington establishment thinks it knows about Japan is false, with the result that successive U.S. presidential administrations have never been able to bargain intelligently with Tokyo.

Here I will focus on Japan’s trading system, and I will address other potential flashpoints in future commentaries. Pace the mainstream American media, Japan remains as mercantilist as ever. As Trump has repeatedly pointed out, Japan poses as great a challenge for U.S. trade policymakers as China. In fact the Japanese economic system could no more operate without high trade barriers than a Las Vegas nightclub could survive without muscular bouncers.

Tokyo’s forebodings about a revival of 1980s-style trade friction have been greatly exacerbated lately with the demise of Marco Rubio’s “savior” campaign. Not the least of those who aspired to be “saved” by Rubio were Japanese trade officials and their Washington lobbyists. Given that Rubio was bankrolled mainly by Norman Braman, a big Florida-based importer of high-end foreign cars, Rubio seemed a safe bet to perpetuate the “trade-doesn’t-matter” consensus of recent presidential administrations.

Assuming he is elected and keeps his promises, Trump would be the first president since Ronald Reagan to challenge Japanese mercantilism. He looks likely moreover to adopt a much tougher line than Reagan. Reagan not only felt constrained by the Cold War but naively accepted his vaunted “friend” Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone’s assurances that, given a little time, Japan would fall into line. After all, almost the entire Japanese elite was supposedly already on board (at least that was the happy story promulgated in the Wall Street Journal’s editorial pages). Japan’s problem was ostensibly that a few remaining “backwoodsmen” were for a little while longer blocking progress but once they were jostled aside, a younger, more enlightened breed of Japanese official would enthusiastically embrace American-style free trade.

Well, here we are in 2016 – more than 35 years after Reagan took office and nearly twelve years since he died – and Japan remains as protectionist as ever.

Consider cars. Cars are worthy of special mention in part because they are by far the most important advanced manufactured item traded internationally (their electronics alone are as sophisticated as anything in an Apple iPhone). The car industry is also of special note because its trade patterns are easy to track.

That the Japanese car market is protected is the first thing you notice on setting foot in Japan. Except for a few token German cars that are visible mainly in central Tokyo, the cars on Japanese roads are Japanese. Drivers don’t have much choice. Foreign marques are systematically marginalized.

Korean cars provide a striking example: at last count their market share was less than 0.02 percent. Yet it is hardly as if the Koreans can’t make good cars: Hyundai competes to win against the Japanese in virtually every other market. In Japan, however, Hyundai sold an average of a mere 1,700 cars a year in the early years of the twenty-first century – a performance so miserable that in 2009 the company just gave up and shuttered its Japanese car marketing division.

Japan’s apologists have suggested that Hyundai’s problem was merely ethnic bias. In reality, such a bias explains nothing. Certainly in other respects Japanese consumers hardly seem allergic to things Korean. Japan’s most popular foreign cuisine, for instance, is Korean, and Korean culture is widely respected as a progenitor of Japanese culture (in much the same way that the British acknowledge a cultural debt to ancient Rome). Meanwhile there is the fact that ethnic Koreans constitute by far Japan’s largest minority. Even if anti-Korean bias is supposed to explain something, it can hardly explain why ethnic Koreans don’t buy Korean cars. Nor does it explain why ethnic Korean entrepreneurs (of whom there is a plentiful supply in Japan) don’t set up dealerships for Hyundai and the others. There is, too, the fact that in other products – including even auto components – Japanese and Korean companies do a thriving two-way business. The conclusion is inescapable that Japan pursues a deliberate policy of keeping Korean car imports close to zero.

As for the larger picture, for most of the last fifty years total imports of foreign-brand cars – from all nations – have consistently been kept to a mere 4 percent of the Japanese market. This has applied whether the yen is high or low, and whether the Japanese economy has been booming or stagnating.

Of course, if you believe Japan’s excuses (as conveyed via, for instance, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal), the problem is that the Detroit companies don’t make cars with the steering wheel on the correct side for Japan’s drive-on-the-left roads. This is obvious nonsense. Not only has Detroit long made some of its models in the Japanese configuration (the Jeep, for instance) but the Detroit companies’ European subsidiaries make whole ranges of competitive cars configured for Japan.

Cars apart, several other aspects of Japan’s trade policy might also interest a future President Trump. Take, for instance, Japan’s trade with China. Officially the two nations are supposed to be daggers drawn. Yet if an intelligent Martian were to analyze international trade flows (and if he insisted on looking at hard facts rather than trusting to the Anglophone press – we are talking a really smart Martian here), he would conclude that the only mutually satisfying economic partnership among the U.S.-Japan-China ménage is between Japan and China.


Whereas Japan’s imports from the United States last year totaled a mere \$64.4 billion, its imports from China came to a whopping \$155.1 billion. If Japan were run on free market lines, such outcomes might be mere happenstance. But given the extent to which Japan regulates its trade, it is clear that Chinese-made goods enjoy affirmative-action status. This has indeed been apparent from the beginning of the Chinese miracle. Even in the 1980s and 1990s when China was competing mainly with nations like Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, and India, Japan strongly favored China over the others.

What’s in it for Japan? Exports. Almost alone among advanced nations, Japan enjoys a broadly balanced trade relationship with China. In a macroeconomic version of you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours, top officials on each side set policies to favor purchases from the other.

Exact calculations are impossible because much trade goes through Hong Kong but it is clear that in the four decades since Deng Xiaoping set a new course, China has imported roughly as much from Japan as it has exported to Japan. In recent years as China has emerged as an export superpower, the bilateral balance seems to have increasingly favored China but even so as of 2015 China imported more than \$30 billion more from Japan than from the United States. What is remarkable is that America’s workforce is almost 2.5 times Japan’s. It is not as if geographic propinquity has had much to do with it. Virtually everything China imports from Japan counts as ultra-high-value goods that can be delivered via overnight air anywhere in the world. Thus the fact that Japan is in China’s time-zone is of negligible importance in terms of delivery costs and schedules. Meanwhile China’s meager purchases from the United States consist in significant measure of coal and other low-grade commodities that take weeks to deliver by sea.

What is clear is that China’s purchases are now a mainstay of Japan’s perennially robust current account. As of 2015, Japan ran a current account surplus of \$124.3 billion. Compare that with America’s current account deficit of \$460.6 billion. What makes Japan’s 2015 performance all the more impressive is that it represented more than double the surplus earned in 1990. Not bad given that as a result of a population reduction program initiated under the Eugenic Protection Act of 1948, Japan’s workforce has actually fallen by more than 20 percent since 1990.

The larger message in the Japan trade story is that there is an awful lot of first geopolitical significance that somehow has gone completely unnoticed. Actually the media’s coverage of trade generally in recent years has gone from the merely bad to the totally abysmal. For nearly a generation now the media have ceased all coverage of America’s utterly alarming annual trade deficits. By extension, of course, the implications in terms of Washington’s increasing indebtedness to such creditor nations as Japan and China have gone completely unnoticed.

It goes without saying that Japan’s current account surpluses have long since been systematically swept under the rug. Japan trade in all its manifestations has ceased to be a story. Even when Hyundai announced in 2009 that it was withdrawing from the Japanese market, not a single newspaper in the United States or the United Kingdom carried the news.

Perhaps the most reprehensible aspect of the press’s coverage has been the way Trump’s recent Japan trade initiative has been treated. Instead of recognizing it as a development of historic importance, the media have venomously tried to present it as a mad-cap anachronism. A stand-out in this regard has been the New York Times. Under the heading, “Donald Trump Laces Into Japan With a Trade Tirade From the ’80s,” the Times’s Tokyo correspondent Jonathan Soble and Hong Kong-based economics reporter Keith Bradsher devoted most of their space to what were obviously carefully crafted sound-bites from several Japanese establishment surrogates. Conspicuously absent was any reference to the facts and figures of Japanese protectionism. There was no mention, for instance, of how poorly foreign carmakers still do in the Japanese market, or the fact that a disgusted Hyundai threw in the towel in 2009. Nor was there any mention of Japan’s continuing, almost miraculously strong current account surpluses at a time when U.S. current account deficits have persisted so long that they put America’s very economic independence at risk. Yet despite its obvious omissions, Soble and Bradsher’s analysis was widely endorsed by their colleagues at

Where does all this leave Trump? The answer is surely in a position of remarkable strength. Precisely because the media have been so keen to bury the facts of the Japan trade story, his message is all the more impactful.

Eamonn Fingleton is the author of In Praise of Hard Industries: Why Manufacturing, Not the Information Economy, Is the Key To Future Prosperity (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999). He lived 27 years in Tokyo.

• Category: Economics, Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Free Trade, Japan 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Mr. Fingleton, did you see any evidence of unease in Tokyo? Or are you just speculating? Your first sentence states categorically that there’s uneasiness, but the second says it’s just “safe to say.”

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The author here doesn’t understand that trade policy is tied to foreign policy and that the Elite that run this country are not stupid.

    They clearly understand that Japan is protectionist, but they leave Japan alone because Japan is on America’s side geopolitically. Japan’s value to the US is in buying up all of America’s worthless debt and containing China.

    If America starts to bring up foreign trade, Japan would have to question being America’s lackey in East Asia and letting the US keep all its troops in the country.

    Also, the elites don’t mind Japan running a trade surplus much because Japan is buying up US treasuries which keep America running.

    So….Trump will do absolutely nothing.

  3. I wonder if the US cuts Japan some slack because of concern about Japan’s economy collapsing. It has a national debt of 200% of GDP, negative interest rates and a declining population.

  4. Ivan says:

    Trump’s bluster about Japan may have some validity in the 80s and 90s. The landscape has changed since then. Japanese manufacturers can cope with American ones with absolutely no protection from their government. Trump is just talking nonsense when it comes to Japan. The example he gave was about Komatsu and Caterpillar. They are both equally well engineered and the purchasing would be on price and maintenance only. Japan’s infrastructure building days are over so where is Trump going to force the Japanese to deploy Caterpillars? Same goes for any kind of consumer item. People still prefer the coveted “Made in Japan” brand. The Japanese must be mystified by Trump.

  5. 1). There is plenty of empirical evidence that geographic propinquity is highly correlated to trade volume, however, as noted, the size of the US as a trading partner should indeed mitigate some of that, and
    2) as Evidenced by the Baltic Dry Index, among other references, shipping even by surface should be a minor factor for most any non-perishables, except that
    3) The US doesn’t seem to be producing much that the Chinese want, aside from intellectual property, like movies, which is why
    4) Hollywood and New York and big media production drive the trade agenda, as evidenced by things like TTIP.

    I hope our robot overlords-to-be will be more sensitive to our needs than our current overlords.

    • Replies: @Karl
  6. “For nearly a generation now the media have ceased all coverage of America’s utterly alarming annual trade deficits. “

    Same in the UK. To think that in 1970 a General Election defeat could be blamed on one month’s negative trade figures.

    It used to be reported that the UK trade deficit was offset by “invisible earnings” from City services like insurance, and from dividends on overseas companies owned by the UK. But so many UK companies have been sold to foreign buyers that the balance must have diminished greatly.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  7. Sendil says: • Website

    US has a larger trade deficit with Germany than with Japan, despite the fact that Germany has a smaller economy. Germany also has a current account surplus more than twice that of Japan! In fact, it is almost as large as China’s, despite the enormous differences in GDP. Yet I don’t hear Trump talking about German trade practises.

    • Replies: @This Is Our Home
  8. @Anonymous

    A reply to Anonymous:

    In your first comment, you question the accuracy of my statement that, “In few places has Donald Trump’s rise caused more unease than in Tokyo.” The evidence for this is abundant. Here, for instance, is what Kiichi Fujiwara said the other day: “My friends in the Foreign Ministry are in a state of panic.” Fujiwara is one of Japan’s top America watchers and a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington.

    In your second comment, you state: “The elite that run this country [the United States] are not stupid. They clearly understand that Japan is protectionist.” If this is so, why hasn’t anyone told the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, which seem to labor under the illusion that Japan is one of the world’s most open markets? And why hasn’t there been a full, free, and democratically accountable discussion of the pros and cons of America’s Japan policy?

    You suggest that Japan is a “lackey” and that America is getting the best of the bargain. You seem to have forgotten that when America entered into its bizarrely one-sided trade relationship with Japan, American manufacturing wages were more than ten times Japan’s and American manufacturers led the world almost right across the board in producers’ goods — that is the precision equipment, the high-performance components, and the advanced materials that other nations needed to make the world’s consumer goods. The major consequence of Washington’s failure to enforce its trade agreements is that Japanese corporations have enjoyed a persistent competitive advantage in that they have reaped higher scale economies than their American competitors. One by one those competitors have dropped out even as Japan has surpassed America in manufacturing wages,and the result is that Japan is now the world’s dominant supplier of the world’s producers’ goods. America meanwhile has been almost cleaned out of its advanced manufacturing industries, with an unemployment rate to prove it.

    Net net, in its eagerness to defend Japan, the Washington elite seems hellbent on turning America into a Third World country.

  9. Tiger says:

    The Japanese export economy is not doing well relative to say South Korea or Germany. In 2014, Japan had a current account surplus that was merely 0.5% of GDP. In comparison Germany had a current account surplus of 7.39%. (South Korea was 6.33%.)

    Germany is the most obvious other exporter to compare to Japan because of its size and export orientated economy. By not mentioning Germany in your articles (because it would dampen some your conclusions about the power of the Japanese export economy), I get the impression that you are exaggerating how well Japan is doing and I have less confidence in your conclusions.

  10. Long time reader here. I recently had to stop reading your column on Forbes due to he site’s new policy of blocking access with ad blocker on. I don’t have a problem with ads per se, but Forbes has a very poorly designed website which loads an alarming number of scripts (including from third party websites) and trackers. Something to consider.

    I have long agreed with your core theses about the importance of manufacturing and the broad configuration of Japanese economic policy, but I think you are too dismissive about the role of geography.

    Political relations and trade compacts alone don’t at all explain why many Japanese firms engage in final assembly in China. I think the more important reason is geography. Simply because goods can be air freighted (and if final assembly is moved somewhere for low labor rates, the end product will not be air freighted) doesn’t mean proximity doesn’t matter. Executives and engineers need to be able to coordinate with the factories quickly. Even arranging telephone calls across more than four or five time zones is a serious chore.

    This pattern repeats itself outside of Japan. Many American firms (and foreign firms with American subsidiaries) have substantial final assembly operations in Mexico–the infamous maquilladora companies. The Visegrad group of countries in Central Europe have become a vast final assembly area for German firms, now so advanced that Porsche will commence final assembly of one of its cars in Slovakia.

    I also doubt very much that the trade relationship between Japan and China prevents political frictions. In theory this could all be kabuki optics for domestic politics and Western eyes, but I doubt it. Clashes between patrol boats in the Senkaku Islands, Chinese demonstrations against the Japanese, China cutting off rare earths exports to Japan in 2012, Japan “re-interpreting” its pacifist postwar constitution, and an incipient carrier building race all seem serious enough to me.

    Don’t forget that Britain and Germany had a large trading relationship in 1914. No doubt you’d point out that the British were the free-trade suckers of that time, and they were, but German firms did heavily make use of Britain’s banking, insurance, and shipping for their foreign trade not just to Britain itself but world-wide.

  11. Rehmat says:

    Japanese elites would rather love Oligarch Donald Trump for his love for capitalism and racism, and especially his Muslim bashings.

    On May 19, 2013, an expert on Arab and Muslim population and former intelligence officer for 25-year with Israel Occupation Force (IOF), professor Mordechai Kedar (Bar-Ilan University) in an article published at The Jewish Press, entitled, The Land without Muslims, saying that “the Japanese don’t feel the need to apologize to the Muslim for the negative way they relate to Islam.”

    “It’s interesting to know that there is a country in the whose official and public approach to the Muslims is totally different. That country is Japan. This country keeps a very low profile on all levels regarding the Muslim matter: on diplomatic level, senior political figures from Islamic countries almost never visit Japan, and Japanese leaders rarely visit Muslim countries, ” Mordechai wrote.

    Ignoring Zionist professor’s anti-Muslim rant – in Japan the ‘anti-Israel’ Pakistan is known as ‘Tower of Strength’ due to its active part at the ‘Japanese Peace Treaty’ signed on September 8, 1951 in San Francisco. Between 1952-53, Pakistan donated 60,000 ton of rice to staving Japanese. Both countries exchanged ambassadors in 1952. In May 1957, Japanese prime minister Nobusuke Kishi paid official visit to Pakistan. Pakistan’s military dictator, Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan returned the visit on December 12-19, 1960. ….

    • Replies: @Sherman
  12. The other big issue that Trump mentions is America providing much of Japan’s national defense. This evolved after World War II and Japan spends just 1% of its GDP on national defense while the USA spends 4-8%, depending on if you count just the Pentagon budget or total national security spending. For example, the Dept of Energy pays for nuclear weapons, the VA pays for military disability costs, and the Dept. of Treasury pays some \$30 billion a year in military retirement costs.

    Trump has suggested that instead of borrowing billions of dollars from Japan each year to keep 50,000 troops there, Japan pay us many billions of dollars for national defense costs. Don’t fall for the spin that they already pay us billions of dollars. They pay some costs related to base utilities and civilian base salaries directly to Japanese citizens, but the USA doesn’t get a cent. They tally up how much they “lose” for not taxing our troops income, import taxes, and sales taxes on bases, and count that as a contribution!

    Korea is yet another example, where our crazed Generals keep spending ever more to defend South Korea, while it spends less of its GDP on defense and is cutting back the size of its army while our Generals secretly expand our troops there to justify a large active force. They constant scream about the North Korean threat, even though South Korea’s military is roughly five times more powerful! We could maintain a “trip wire” presence there with just 2000 soldiers, not 40,000 soldiers and 30,000 American civilians, which include thousands of military children that our Generals think are completely safe near the DMZ.

    • Agree: Jeff77450
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Ivan
  13. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Eamonn Fingleton

    “Net net, in its eagerness to defend Japan, the Washington elite seems hellbent on turning America into a Third World country.”

    Fifteen years ago or so some high Japanese official misspoke by telling the truth that the agenda was that Asia would be the manufacturing center of the world, Europe the design center and USA the agricultural producer.

    This implies that the dismantling of America’s industrial base is deliberate and planned. And by whom? Well, we need only look at who’s is supplying the intellectual justification for this program. We euphemistically call them “globalists”. They are the financial elites whose products have displaced manufacturing as the largest component of our economy. They and their Ivy League economist lackeys promote the vision of a one-world economy in which the chosen who run Wall St. function as the middlemen. They care not a whit that Americans have always prided themselves on being inventors and mechanical geniuses. Eli Whitney, Ericsson, Ford, Thomas Edison, Bell, Wright brothers, Goddard, Shockley et al are not folk heroes to them.

    This turning America into a rural backwater by importing agricultural workers is the Morgenthau Plan applied to the largely Germanic country of America.

  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Eamonn Fingleton

    The first Anonymous and the second Anonymous are different people. I am the second Amonymous. Sorry, but I don’t trust the government enough to post under even a fake name.

    NYT and the Wallstreet Journal are both apparatuses of the state. They know about Japan’s protectionism, they just don’t say anything because they are serving the interests of the elites.

    And give me a break. There is no honest discussion in the media about Japan’s protectionism, just like there is no honest discussion about Americas involvement in Syria or race relations or anything else that goes against the elites. America is not a free country duh. Lol

    America lost its manufacturing edge for a number of reasons. First, America only had such a huge edge in manufacturing because the rest of the world was destroyed due to WW2. The high wages were bound to go down as other countries just caught up. Add in a high tax and regulatory burden which caused a lot of companies to leave the US.

    Second, America losing manufacturing just didn’t really matter to the elites. They were more concerned with juicing their profits by outsourcing to cheaper places like China and Mexico. Japan at one point filled this role, but if Japan never existed we would still be in the same spot we are in today because it was the will of the corporate elites to do so.

    Lastly, as I stated before the US doesn’t really mind running trade deficits with Japan because Japan is using their trade surplus to buy worthless US bonds. So it is questionable that America isn’t benefitting more from the status quo since we are just buying their goods with useless paper.

    America doesn’t care about Japan or America. The reason things are the way they are is because the elites of America cut a deal with the elites of Japan and screwed the people of both countries.

    • Replies: @the Southerner
    , @Catiline
  15. Sherman says:

    Silly and misleading article.

    Last time I was in Tokyo I saw McDonalds and Starbucks all over the place.

    I don’t recall seeing too many Japanese fast food chains in the US.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Korea is no different. It imports about 1,500 foreign cars a year. Free trade works best for lobbyists and those inside the beltway. I’m not Trumps biggest fan but on some things he is dead on. Some important things.

    • Replies: @Historian
  17. Sherman says:

    Hey Homer

    Japan actually has very close relations with Pakistan.

    Japanese executives are very impressed with Pakistan’s scientific prowess and are investing in and entering into joint ventures with Pakistan’s numerous technology companies.

    Furthermore, Japan could care less what the Muslim/Arab world thinks about its close ties with Pakistan as the Muslim/ Arab world are economic basket cases.

    Oops, sorry! My bad. Replace “Pakistan” with “Israel”.


    • Replies: @Rehmat
  18. @Anonymous

    “Second, America losing manufacturing just didn’t really matter to the elites”

    I think Fingleton agrees, though with less reliance on your amorphous “elites” and thus with greater legitimacy. Fingleton’s point, I believe, is that China, Japan and the rest were aware of this trend, which is due to reasons far more complex than mere apathy, and thus took the collective action necessary to enjoy maximum benefit of the democratic nature manufacturing enables for a nation by systematically prying it away from America.

    You never really explain why manufacturing is so unimportant besides confirming Fingleton’s criticism that America’s service industry is only able to even barely tread water because of its parasitic financial dependency on a vicious cycle of foreign debt, and thus has no economic and political autonomy of its own. You think that is a good thing?

    “because the rest of the world was destroyed due to WW2”

    That is a meme. Germany was destroyed by WW2, Eastern Europe was damaged, portions of China were heavily damaged, it was a very localized war. The only semi-industrial nation was Germany and with the relentless march of technology, manufacturing has only become more important, not less.

    “the others were just bound to catch up”

    A meaningless platitude, this wasn’t just going to naturally occur; Japan, China and Mexico are all very aware that economics and politics are not mutually exclusive and are a zero-sum game. Just look at Mexico’s position towards U.S. immigration. If you are not a winner, you are a loser. If you do not take the necessary political action to secure your economic foothold, then someone else is going to take it away from you. It is impossible for every nation to enjoy both the means and ends of consumerism as we know it in the U.S. That is the real secret behind Japan’s very warm relations with China, they are establishing a regional, far-Eastern hegemony. And really, that’s Mr. Fingleton’s argument.

    To say Japan is a U.S. “ally” is the height of either naivety or ignorance, or both.

    Lastly, about “taxes”

    Is it any surprise that with the decimation of manufacturing in America, and the dual threats of immigration and automation, that taxes have increased? You see, “costs” are never eliminated, they are merely displaced, shoved onto someone else. That is essentially why market-fundamentalism is a fraud.

  19. Catiline says:

    Very good Anon. I would add that the trade deficit is financed by the budget deficit which, as you say, is financed largely by the Japanese. All of which is a roundabout way of saying that the US is exacting tribute from Japan 75 years after it’s defeat in WWII.

    The undermining of American industry also serves the ruling class’ purely domestic policy. That of sabotaging the interests of ‘White ethnics’-heavily employed and dependent on industry for survival- preventing them from rivalling and potentially overtaking existing privileged groups for status and power.

    Finally, for those who complain of the ‘burden’ of US defense spending remember: If Europe and Japan begin to spend more on their armed forces, the more independent they will become of American hegemony and the more likely will their policies diverge and even conflict with the policies of the current gang calling all the shots.

    Points 2 & 3 are closely related.

    • Replies: @EdwardM
  20. Historian says:

    Japan’s infrastructure building days are over so where is Trump going to force the Japanese to deploy Caterpillars?

    Japan is building a lot of rural expressways and bridges to nowhere.

    Next time you’re in Japan, rent a car and drive out into the countryside. You’ll see huge bridges in places that ought to support a winding mountain road.

    Then there’s the maglev that they’re building right next to the bullet train. Not a toy maglev, like the Germans built for the Chinese in Shanghai. A real maglev, hundreds of miles long. Eventually, they plan to cover the country with maglevs.

    If you look at American construction sites, you’ll see Caterpillars and Komatsus. If you look at Chinese construction sites, you’ll see Caterpillars and Komatsus. If you look at Japanese construction sites, there aren’t any Caterpillars.

    • Replies: @IBC
    , @Ivan
  21. Leftist conservative [AKA "Make Great Again"] says: • Website

    trump should immediately put Fingleton in an advisory capacity..

  22. @Thorfinnsson

    I quit Forbes for the same reason. The Washington Times is almost as bad. I doubt Trump will be elected, but a continuation of the status quo seems untenable.

  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    The US imposed a constitution on Japan after WWII that explicitly limits its defensive capacity:

    ARTICLE 9. (1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
    (2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

    Making Japan explicitly pay, as opposed to doing it discreetly via Japan recycling its trade surpluses into Treasuries, would make the vassalage too explicit and upend the postwar US order which is nominally based on free and independent states.

    As far as the Korean peninsula goes, the US refuses to recognize North Korea and is technically still at war with it. South Korea’s largest trading partner is China, and the Korean peninsula has had relatively peaceful relations with China for centuries. South Korea has an incentive for less antagonistic relations with North Korea and China, while the US has little incentive for South Korea to have amicable relations with North Korea and China.

  24. Rehmat says:

    Hi Sharon

    Yes Japanese has very close ‘spiritual’ relations with Israeli Mafia and Talmud. They learn how to loot of their money (Capitalism) by studying Talmud – but get stabbed from behind by Israeli Mossad.

    In July 2012, YNet reported recently that Tokyo has asked for Israeli help to rehabilitate the city of Fukushima, which was hit particularly hard by the disastrous earthquake and tsunami over a year ago.

    Canadian daily ‘The Globe And Mail’ reported on July 5, 2012 that a Japanese parliamentary panel has claimed that the nuclear accident at Fukushima was “man-made disaster” and not only due to tsunami.

    In February 2010, Japan offered to enrich uranium for the Islamic Republic. Soon thereafter, an Israeli firm by the name Magna BSP, headed by Haim Siboni, secured a contract to run security at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Last year, Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that Magna BSP was providing security for the nuclear plant prior to the disaster. In 2010, the firm installed security system “which included cameras and a warning system, enabling the facilitiy’s security staff to monitor anyone attempting to trespass onto the site or damage the parameter fence. The security system was designed to guard the plant against any hostile elements seeking to seize radioactive material to use in a terrorist attack,” reported Ha’aretz.

    Former NSA analyst and freelance journalist, Jim Stone, argues that there was no mag 9.0 earthquake. The Tsunami was caused by nuclear bombs in the Sea and the Fukushima explosion and meltdown was by mini-nukes hidden in cameras installed by the Israeli security firm. The motive: to punish Japan for offering to enrich Iranian uranium and straying from Illuminati (mostly Jewish) dictat. Watch a video below.

    • Replies: @woodNfish
  25. Historian says:

    Last time I was in Tokyo I saw McDonalds and Starbucks all over the place.

    Service industries are very visible because of the consumer-facing brands, but they are just a placebo that they throw at us. A country cannot develop its economic power by exporting service industries.

    It takes thousands of Big Macs and lattes to equal the profits from one car. The most successful fast food export is Yum Brands, which has more KFCs in China than in the United States. The profits from their entire China division — which includes KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Little Sheep — didn’t even amount to a billion dollars in 2015.

    With a service industry, only the profits come back to the United States. The wages stay overseas. When we export a car, we also employ American autoworkers. He gets healthcare and retirement benefits. That reduces the burden on Medicaid and extends the life of the Social Security trust fund.

    • Replies: @Sherman
    , @Wally
  26. Historian says:

    Korea is no different. It imports about 1,500 foreign cars a year. Free trade works best for lobbyists and those inside the beltway.

    To see what a competitive market looks like, go to Germany. You will see lots of German cars, but you will also see American cars, and Japanese cars, and Korean cars, and even French cars.

    The top four German car brands account for less than half of German market share. General Motors is #5 with 7% share. Ford is #6 with another 7%. Hyundai has 3% of the market, and even Renault has 3% market share.

    Let me summarize the situation..

    We got rid of Hitler and locked up his architect for 20 years. Then we gave 20% of Germany to Poland, 5% to France, and put 30% under Russian control for 45 years. To thank us for our help, they opened their markets to American goods, and they’re now buying millions of American cars each year.

    We kept Japan intact and allowed Hirohito to stay on the throne. We’re even backing them in their flimsy territorial claims over some uninhabited islands. To thank us for our help, they have put a series of trade barriers in-place that make it almost impossible to buy an American car.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @IBC
  27. Sherman says:

    I agree but my point is that the trade imbalance is misleading.

    Besides, this article doesn’t mention the Japanese autos being manufactured in the US, primarily low wage southern states.

    It should be noted that these factories provide good salaries to American workers and these Japanese auto companies never requested a bailout like US companies.

    • Replies: @Wally
  28. joe webb says:

    a sidebar here since we are in the economics dept.

    from American Renaissance” US workers’ pockets are being picked by Capital and immigration to the tune of 500 billion dollars every year per a real economist.

    Sent: Friday, March 18, 2016 8:23 PM
    Subject: Harvard Economist: Immigration Costs US Workers \$500 Billion A Year

    A nationalist economy and a nationalist economics is exactly what the Asian economies are.

    White Nationalist economics should start with one’s own country, but make ‘most favored nation’ in trade other White countries. Free Trade is not free, it is a scam for profiteers who have abandoned their own country, like libertarians.

    Joe Webb

  29. Wally says: • Website


    It all looks bigger than it really is, and intentionally so.

    I have spent a lot of time in Japan and the costs of the vast marjority of US products, when even available, is simply shocking. From cars to musical instruments, on down the line, the tariffs and barriers to an more open Japanese market are seen everywhere.

    There are no real free & open Japanese markets when they are rigging the game in their favor.

    Maybe the “elites” find it useful, but the average American does not.
    And that is Trumps real importance. He is demanding a better deal.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  30. utu says:

    What happen with trade deficits? If at the end of year there is \$100 billion trade deficit so after 10 years it is \$1 trillion, right? What happens to the \$1 trillion? Who pays for it? In what form or currency?

  31. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    In China, Chinese cars are even less a share of the market, with about a quarter of the market, and US brands have about 16% of the market:

    But both China and Germany have larger trade surpluses with the US than Japan does. There’s more to trade than just cars.

    • Replies: @Historian
  32. Rdm says:

    The way to look at it, American corporate enjoy from massive franchise and accumulate their wealth and become global elitist. So McDonald and Starbucks CEO Do Not Care what ordinary American people need.

    McDonald at the right corner of your street will outsource any cheap labors, products to maximize their profits and stock prices. The same goes for Starbucks.

    Whereas the Sushi, Jumbo, Hibachi, Mushimushi, you name it, the Japanese restaurant in US soils are usually family owned and they operate and manage their stalls, i.e., distributing the currency across the people. There’s no franchise, there’s no outsourcing. They have to rely on their local markets to cater to the needs of the local demand.

  33. woodNfish says:

    Japanese manufacturers can cope with American ones with absolutely no protection from their government.

    And yet they don’t. Go figure!

    • Replies: @Ivan
  34. woodNfish says:

    Jim Stone, argues that there was no mag 9.0 earthquake. The Tsunami was caused by nuclear bombs in the Sea and the Fukushima explosion and meltdown was by mini-nukes hidden in cameras installed by the Israeli security firm. The motive: to punish Japan for offering to enrich Iranian uranium and straying from Illuminati (mostly Jewish) dictat.

    Yeah, and we can control the weather too – just ask Odumbass.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  35. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This article ignores the foreign policy angle, which is the predominant factor in the US-Japan relationship. The “trade” is that the US gets Japanese goods, and Japan gets US bases and gets some of its citizens raped by GIs so that the US can project power into the Pacific and East Asia:

    If the former side of the trade were jeopardized, the latter would be as well, as Japan would then seek either to independently remilitarize or seek good relations with China rather than host US bases, be complicit in an antagonistic posture towards China, and have its citizens raped for no reason.

    The US doesn’t seem to want to give up the latter side of the trade. It is upset right now that China’s activities in the South China Sea, on China’s coast, may potentially limit its ability to project power in East Asia and the Pacific. This is right up to China’s coast. It would be even more upset if it were pushed even further east beyond Japan.

  36. Rdm says:

    Even when Hyundai announced in 2009 that it was withdrawing from the Japanese market, not a single newspaper in the United States or the United Kingdom carried the news.

    Fingleton, I’ve been reading your articles in Forbes and like your post regarding on Japan.

    We can safely say that any country that have a trade surplus with the US are basically lackey countries in their respective geographical location.

    Empire has no clothes, but several pieces of clothes are taken up by the Empire satellite colonies.

    If you read the history, China and Korea relationship were the same phenomenon. To maintain the tribunary state under the Middle Kingdom, Korea enjoyed exporting their domestically bred horses with high prices to China. China knowingly bought those high prices horses from Korea, while staying as the Middle Kingdom.

    Germany, Japan, S.Korea are all American satellite colonies. Those colonies have no vested interest in the survival of the US empire. They will suck as long as Empire let them do while they let you station your so-called US troops in the name of national defense.

    It’s not because of corrupt morality of Japanese or Koreans or German people per se. It is, objectively speaking, very smart move of those people.

    What kind of country will let you have a negative trade deficit with the US while you have to cave in to the Empire need?

    If the US starts buying up Banana from Philippines and allowing cheap Filipino maids with green card, with a huge trade deficit with the said country, while only demanding Subic bay will be open to all American troops, I can guarantee you that Philippines will be oblige to do so.

    Or Philippines will happily allow American troops stationed in their Subic bay while their country is being hollowed out by American products and goods?

    Britain used to enjoy this massive lopsided trade surplus with their colonies, bloodsucking indigenous people, experimenting their social structures in their colonies, and copied the best practices back at home, while getting rid of those anglo convicts by sending to Down Under.

    That was when the Britain Empire enjoyed the Land of Free, a perfect society.

    Remember a Royal Queen used to have how many pairs of pants in her wardrobe? IF a Queen Elizabeth chartered to conquer a tiny island Fiji, Sir Knight Britons will happily do so with a trade surplus.

    Those were the days long gone.

    Not in this 21st century.

  37. Wally says: • Website

    These are assembly plants only. Just where do these Japanese companies build their parts, take their profits?

    It aint the US.

    As for bailouts, pointing out more corruption by the US government & the auto unions hardly supports your position.

  38. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    Japan may not like Trump, but Trump may be good for Japan in the long run.

    Strained relations with US will make Japan more politically independent.

    Japan needs to come out of US orbit.

    • Replies: @Wally
  39. IBC says:

    If you look at American construction sites, you’ll see Caterpillars and Komatsus. If you look at Chinese construction sites, you’ll see Caterpillars and Komatsus. If you look at Japanese construction sites, there aren’t any Caterpillars.

    Some American-brand back hoes and compact tractors, are actually made by Japanese companies like Hitachi and Yanmar.

  40. @Ivan

    Japan’s infrastructure building days are over so where is Trump going to force the Japanese to deploy Caterpillars?

    “Engineer” is correct. Japan produces 75% as much cement and more steel than the US with 40% of its population. There’s tons of infrastructure building going on in Japan (possibly more so than is optimal but the stimulus money has to go somewhere).

    • Replies: @Ivan
  41. IBC says:

    I don’t recall seeing too many Japanese fast food chains in the US.

    The giant 7-Eleven convenience store chain is Japanese-owned, though the original company started in the US.

  42. EdwardM says:

    How is it that “the trade deficit is financed by the budget deficit”? The Japanese private sector buys X worth of imports from America, and the American private sector buys Y worth of imports from Japan. Y>X, so there is a trade deficit with Japan. What does that have to do with government fiscal policy?

    • Replies: @Catiline
  43. @Sherman

    Most Americans don’t consider fried squid yummy, I guess.

  44. IBC says:

    The top four German car brands account for less than half of German market share. General Motors is #5 with 7% share. Ford is #6 with another 7%.

    Opel is a venerable German company that’s been part of General Motors since 1931. It’s by far, GM’s best selling brand in Germany, and certain models are even exported to the US and sold as Buicks. Ford has been in Germany since the Model T era, so at this point, I’d guess that it’s more or less seen as a domestic brand by most Germans –at least for the European models which are mostly sold there. Much of the engineering and production of those cars is also done in Germany, or sometimes elsewhere in Europe or Turkey.

    Incidentally, Ford just announced that it’s pulling out of the Japanese market:

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  45. Rehmat says:

    So, Moshe after mastering human harvesting – the Evildoers want to control the weather too, eh!

    I bet Palestinians and Lebanese would be glad to know that because then Israelis might stop stealing their water sources.

    In December 2015, American soldiers during an attack on ISIS target in Iraq found a Fatwa issued by ISIS Jewish mufti Elliot Simons aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi saying that sale of human organs of their victims to fund ISIS war over Israel’s enemies, is 101% kosher.

    Israel has, in the past, been a center of human organ trafficking operation around the world. Israeli doctors have been caught in this billion dollar trade in Haiti, Madagascar, Kosva, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Chad, Nepal, and even in United States.

    Since the US-Israel war on Syria beginning in 2011, Netanyahu has reportedly visited several Israeli clinics along Syrian border where Israeli doctors operate on the wounded ISIL and other rebels fighting Syrian army and Hizbullah fighters. Based on Israel’s reputation in organ harvesting – there is very likelihood that patients’ organs could be stolen without their knowledge.

  46. Philip Owen [AKA "Soarintothesky"] says:
    @Anonymous Nephew

    Not really. A lot of the oil money was invested overseas (in fact the only things you can do with oil money are buy foreign goods or foreign investments).

    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
  47. Philip Owen [AKA "Soarintothesky"] says:

    But Mazda is Ford under another name.

    • Replies: @IBC
  48. @Eamonn Fingleton

    In a September 11, 1992 pre-election debate on NAFTA, I recall Henry Kissinger admitting that America offered free trade agreements as a diplomatic tool, not as an economic one.

    From the NYT’s debate coverage: “Mr. Kissinger turns out to be no strict free-trader; taking a geopolitical rather than an economic perspective, he supports the recent trade agreement with Mexico on the grounds that it will help that country achieve full democracy.”

    In his many articles, Mr. Fingleton has provided valuable insights and information on America’s trade policy. But he assumes that policymakers have tried to craft America’s free trade policy to benefit a majority of Americans’ wages and standard of living, and have maintained that policy in the face of the majority’s stagnating wages and declining standard of living.

    I agree with Kissinger. Free trade is not an economic strategy. It’s a tragicomedy that turns a majority of Americans into Samuel Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon, trusting dupes waiting for Godot.

  49. Catiline says:

    Google “Twin Deficit Hypothesis”. Also read J. Galbraith’s THE PREDATOR STATE for a succinct explanation.

  50. Wally says: • Website
    @Priss Factor

    The Japanese have their “elite” as well.
    But, I’m sure much of Japan would appreciate fair competition from US companies.
    The prices that they are forced to pay for their own goods and US goods would necessarily come down, their choices would increase.

    Also, there’s the inevitable.
    US military sway is being outed as a paper tiger and the money is drying up for it. We can strut around all we like, but actually engaging a formidable foe is another matter.
    Japan know this, China knows this, Russia knows this, and all are planning accordingly.

    The US is playing checkers, they’re playing chess.

  51. @Johnny Smoggins

    This as the Japanese birth rate continues to decline.

    • Replies: @Erik Sieven
  52. @Johnny Smoggins

    Trump has at least one supporter in Japan; this very cute Japanese girl

    When the late Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster) ran for governor of New York in 1998, he told a Utica radio station that he wanted a 15-year-old Japanese girl with a big hat. What he wanted her for he didn’t specify, and the hosts quickly changed the subject.

  53. spandrell says: • Website

    “Japan’s apologists have suggested that Hyundai’s problem was merely ethnic bias. In reality, such a bias explains nothing. Certainly in other respects Japanese consumers hardly seem allergic to things Korean. Japan’s most popular foreign cuisine, for instance, is Korean, and Korean culture is widely respected as a progenitor of Japanese culture (in much the same way that the British acknowledge a cultural debt to ancient Rome).”

    Oh please. You obviously have no idea about what you’re talking about.

    Japan’s trade surpluses have been shrinking for years. Why don’t you write about that? Do American cars sell well in Europe? Of course not. The American cars that sell in China are made in China. American cars just don’t sell well. If they wanted to sell in Japan, they could make an effort and build something cool. Mercedes has no problem selling. You even see the odd Citroen or Fiat.

    • Replies: @22pp22
  54. IBC says:
    @Philip Owen

    Ford owned about a third of Mazda until the automotive Armageddon of 2008-09 when it started selling off whatever it could just to survive. Although in the US, some Ford pickups and SUVs were re-badged as Mazdas, and Ford used some Mazda designs in their own cars; I don’t think Mazda ever made much use of Ford’s parts bin or model lineup in the Japanese domestic market. Today, Ford owns only about two percent of Mazda and both their product lines have diverged considerably.

  55. @Eamonn Fingleton

    Mr. Fingleton,

    I enjoy your articles on Japan and trade in general. Two other authors who wrote about Japan as well as the trade issue at large and how the US was on the losing end were Pat Buchanan in his 1997 book “The Betrayal: How Free trade is ruining the American economy”. And Jared Taylor’s 1983 book “Shadows of the Rising Sun”. Mr Taylor was born in Japan to Presbyterian missionaries and spent nearly the first twenty years of his life living there. His book examines (in a small way) trade but some other aspects of Japanese culture and society which you appear to either ignore or downplay altogether. Japan’s racial/ethnic animosity toward Korea has existed for several centuries and isn’t exactly unknown to the West, so its not surprising that a “minor thing” like a car could really be expected to make a dent in Toyko society. Examples abound, namely, Japan’s conquering of Korea as a colony from 1910-45, as well as the way that Koreans living in Japan for a few generations have still not entirely been assimilated into Japanese society at large. For these and other historical reasons, its fair to say that Japan will never fully embrace Korea as an equal, and, from their perspective, why should they? China, however, with 1.2 billion people, is a different matter and can’t be so easily ignored over the long haul. If anything, the Japanese would officially probably state that its the Koreans who “borrowed” much of their culture from them. Weren’t Hyundai originally sued in the world court by Honda over the name, as it tended to bear a striking resemblance to Honda?

    The point being of course, is that Japan tends to take the long term view of their nation (as compared to the US, UK and modern Western Europe). They also do not have much immigration into their nation either and for a very good reason. Japan remains ca.97-98% racially/ethnically Japanese for a precise reason: The people want to keep their own nation for themselves. Why this is such a shocking piece of information in 2016 remains a mystery. Prior to the 1965 Hart-Cuellar Act which overturned various immigration policies in the US, much of how Japan conducts trade, business, respect for its own manufacturing base, etc was also practiced in the US.

    But again, I do think that per Mr. Taylor’s book on Japan, which helps one get a better sense of their society at large as well as how they tend to view themselves, their nation, etc. vis a vis the rest of the world, its unlikely that Japan will ever view Korea as anything other than subservient to them.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  56. I would have thought the most vulnerable Japanese sector would be agriculture. Japanese farmers would be slaughtered in open trade with the US.

  57. 22pp22 says:

    I lived in Japan for 7 years.

    Foreign cars do not sell well in Japan because the Japanese don’t want them to. Also large foreign cars were once usually owned by people engaged in kawatta shobai (funny business) – ie gangsters.

    Fingleton is right and you are wrong. YOU have no idea what you are talking about.

    Japan’s trade surpluses in the 1980’s were stratospheric. It now has an ageing population to support. That helps explain why its per capita volume of exports has fallen. When I first lived in Japan, Korea was still dependent on garments and China was still a closed economy. Japan had less competition.

    They pursue mercantilism and despise diversity.

  58. Historian says:

    But both China and Germany have larger trade surpluses with the US than Japan does. There’s more to trade than just cars.

    China has low labor costs. Their trade surplus actually makes sense on economic grounds. (They used to have an undervalued currency too, but not any more.)

    Germany has an undervalued currency, the euro. If they still had the deutschemark, it would have risen so much that their current account would be balanced.

    Japan has high labor costs, and the yen is at 112 to the dollar. There is no way that Japan’s trade surplus should be as big as it is. Until you look at all the import barriers.

    There’s more to trade than cars. There’s rice, and seafood, and lumber, and rubber, and chips, and oil. The only thing the Japanese don’t have a trade barrier for seems to be oil.

    • Replies: @Erik Sieven
    , @Anonymous
  59. Ivan says:

    I cannot afford to go to Japan, but I understand that their construction rackets are riddled with corruption as in other countries. Trump will have to end up paying the Yakuza to force them to ‘Buy American’.

  60. @Sendil

    Germany has a trade advantage too. It is just less known and more subtle. It is hidden in the Euro. The Euro has become a subsidy for German exports paid for by the Southern European economies. If Germany had its own currency then it would be insanely strong right now, while if Greece had its own then they would have already devalued and defaulted. They would be on Drachma version 5 or something like that.

    The Euro has been an amazing redistribution of wealth to Germany, even if it was never planned as such, and even if Germany sort of deserves it. Greece, Italy and so on are crazy to be part of it.

  61. Ivan says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    The Japanese can

    a) Kiss and make up with the Russians. They’ll go West into Siberia, which V Putin and the Russian Establishment would welcome with open arms.

    b) Engage in “military Keynsianism’ by spending money on equipment from their own manufacturers to tackle the Chinese and North Koreans. Why should Lockheed and Boeing have all the fun?

  62. Ivan says:

    Singapore where I live has practically no American cars on the road, save the Chrysler taxis, and the occasional Ford Mondeo. The Japanese brands took a back seat to the German ones over the last 5-7 years, they are now back in contention. Fact is the Japanese are competitive when compared to the Europeans or Americans.

    • Replies: @Karl
    , @woodNfish
  63. Ivan says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Trump would be lucky to snag even 5% of the infrastructure spending.

  64. Karl says:
    @The Alarmist

    >>> The US doesn’t seem to be producing much that the Chinese want

    Always the city kids here at Unz.

    American agricultural products are in demand all over Asia. The Americans even export hay to Asia

    • Replies: @5371
  65. Karl says:

    >> Singapore where I live

    Not (I hope) another “foreign talent” with a fat, lazy wife who has an Indonesian maid to run the house AND a Filipina governess to take care of the kids.

    I can’t even go near Orchard nowadays, it’s too dis-heartening.

    Give me Woodlands, or maybe Tuas.

    • Replies: @Ivan
  66. 5371 says:

    So it’s your deep rural background that makes you unable to look up the US trade deficit with China?

  67. Rehmat says:

    Had Fingleton ever met Ryuichi Hirokawa, his opinion about Japanese would have been much different.

    Ryuichi Hirokawa is a internationally known Japanese photojournalist, film director and author of several books on Israel, Palestine and Middle East. In 2008, he produced and directed the movie NAKBA ( catastrophe in Arabic). Hirokawa is author of Children of a Stolen Land: Documentary Photographs of Palestine, and two-volume Yudayajin (The Jews).

    Hirokawa believes that Israel is an extension of Western imperialism in the Muslim heartland. He like Israeli/Jew writers and authors, such as, Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Israel Shahak, Israel Shamir and Roger Tucker, doesn’t buy the Zionist narrative of the Jewish and Palestinian history.

    Hirokawa’s work is also greatly admired in Zionist Occupied United Kingdom. He is considered a Hero by many British citizen.

    Another Anti-Israel academic is professor Yuzo Itagaki (Tokyo University), who helped to establish PLO office in Tokyo.

  68. woodNfish says:

    I was only referring to the protected Japanese market, nowhere else.

    Both my cars are Japanese, and I will not buy American anymore because they, and the UAW screwed over every tax payer in the USA when odumbass bailed them out.

  69. Ivan says:

    More like an unemployed engineer. Manufacturing jobs have disappeared everywhere. I can I like to believe barely recall when there were orchards along Orchard Road. They’ve made a coxcomb of the place.

  70. spandrell says: • Website

    I live in Japan right now. I speak the language. “Kawatta shobai” is not an idiom, so spare me your faux expertise. All kinds of people own Mercedes, not only gangsters.

    The idea that Japan honors Korean culture like English honor their Roman heritage is so completely clueless it’s not even funny.

    If Japanese people wanted American cars they’d buy them. They don’t. Of course the government doesn’t promote it. Why should they? It wouldnt be easy anyway, American cars aren’t exactly attractive.

  71. @22pp22

    You are also making Mr. Jared Taylor’s larger point about Japan, namely, that they don’t want diversity (as shown by their near total lack of immigration) and they want to keep their own nation for themselves. Rhetoric and promises aside, on the issue of trade their policies have clearly demonstrated their intentions for several decades. They don’t want too many imports from anywhere. When Japan’s shogunate government fell in 1868 and restored the Emperor, among the first things that they did was to send out people to the US and Western Europe to learn from the various more advanced nations at the time. They wanted to learn how to advance, industrialize, and catch up to the rest of the first world, but not at the expense of sacrificing their own nation to outsiders the way China had done during the latter half of the 19th century. People like Fingleton tend to forget that the UK had the upper hand and held Hong Kong as a lucrative trade port for over 150yrs. now that the shoe’s on the other foot, doesn’t seem so good does it?

    Japan chose a different path. They avoided being a colony of the west for a long time, managed to compete equally on the Wests’ terms, became a first world nation in their own right, and all without high immigration and high imports that would compete with and potentially drive out of business Japan’s home grown industries. There’s a reason why Japan permits very little foreign food (produce in particular) from all parts of the world: They don’t want to put their farmers on the dole. A nation that can’t produce its own food any more ceases to lay claim to first world status (isn’t the UK almost at this point? They don’t tend to produce as much food as they used to, thanks to free trade policies).

    Remember: When Fingleton makes mention that Koreans tend to be Japan’s largest minority, he needs to finish the sentence. There are roughly less than about 500k Koreans total in Japan, in a nation of ca.126 million. Japan is 97-98% racially/ethnically Japanese for a reason. Unlike the UK, with high rates of immigration, mainly from the third world (which brings along various problems that western Europe is experiencing at present and which Japan has largely avoided) and shrinking economic status, Japan has managed to retain its first world status quite well and from an economic standpoint is probably ahead of the UK at this time.

  72. @spandrell

    Finish the sentence. There has existed a racial hatred between Japan and Korea for several centuries. Japan is, according to most world census takers (UN; CIA; etc) roughly 97-98% racially/ethnically Japanese for a reason. The idea that they would credit Korea as being superior to them in any way is utterly ridiculous. They also don’t want foreign goods widespread in their own nation. Why should they allow more foreign goods in and potentially risk having their home grown companies go out of business? It’s really not more complicated than that. If only the West was as hard headed and watched out for their own nations the way Japan has done, they’d be much better off.

  73. 22pp22 says:

    I speak the language, too. Spare me YOUR faux expertise.

    Japan doesn’t do diversity and they don’t do free trade.

  74. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    “People like Fingleton tend to forget that the UK had the upper hand and held Hong Kong as a lucrative trade port for over 150yrs. now that the shoe’s on the other foot, doesn’t seem so good does it?”

    You gotta admit the Brits did a better job than Mao and ran a pretty good system.

    Chinese benefited from British influence. And even today, chiners wanna move to anglo-ruled societies like Canada and Australia.

    Anglos were the best imperialists. They were also decent race-ists and minimized race mixing, unlike the spanish.

    It’s the ziocons who are messing up this legacy for everyone.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  75. 22pp22 says:

    Kawatta shobai makes perfect sense in Japanese. I never claimed it was an idiom.

    • Replies: @spandrell
  76. 22pp22 says:

    Also, I never mentioned Koreans in my post. So I never claimed they honour their cultural debt to Koreans. I have noticed how attitudes have softened in my lifetime. Thirty years ago, they really did despise Koreans and Tokyo practically went into lock-down for a visit by the Korean president. Now, things Korean can even be cool.

    Korean attitudes to Japan have softened a lot less and the fate of the Liancourt Rocks seems to upset people more than it should.

    I don’t know how widespread it is, but in university circles there is a greater willingness to acknowledge cultural ties to Korea.

    For what it’s worth, I like Japan and I really don’t like Korea. I cut my time in Seoul short. I was supposed to live in Japan for two years and ended up staying seven. I was supposed to live in Korea for two years and ended up staying five months.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  77. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    The Brits ran a commercial enterprise, not a nation. Mao was more like Lincoln: a nation-builder who built a modern nation the only way you can – with violence and the destruction of the remnants of an old one.

    The Chinese move to Canada and Australia for the same reason the Brits did – there’s lots of temperate space there. They don’t move there for parliamentary democracy.

  78. @spandrell

    A reply to Spandrelll:

    You wrote:

    “The idea that Japan honors Korean culture like English honor their Roman heritage is so completely clueless it’s not even funny.”

    We evidently travel in different circles. If you are really serious that a Japanese antipathy to all things Korean is so fierce that it explains the total absence of Korean cars on Japanese roads, perhaps you could provide some evidence from your own experience of how badly Koreans are treated. Please offer chapter and verse. And for good measure, perhaps you could explain why the Japanese imported \$29 billion worth of Korean goods last year. On a per-capita basis, that was more than Americans imported. Finally if you stand by your comments, perhaps you could reveal your identity.

    • Replies: @spandrell
    , @Chrisnonymous
  79. spandrell says: • Website

    Then why type it in Japanese at all? And not just say “gangster business”? If you want to sound cool by typing something in Japanese you might as well type something that isn’t easily translated in English. “Mizu shobai” for example is an idiom to refer to the sex industry which isn’t easily translated. “Kawatta shobai” makes the same sense as saying that the Japanese don’t buy “gaisha” or “amerika seihin”. Just some lame way of showing off.

    I’m of course not claiming that Japan does diversity and free trade. They do too much of it, to my taste, but obviously much less than the West. That still doesn’t license Mr. Fingletonn from making up stuff.

    • Replies: @22pp22
  80. spandrell says: • Website
    @Eamonn Fingleton

    For some years there was the “Korean wave”, with housewives across the country glued to the TV watching Korean TV shows. That fad was engineered by the Japanese government after an agreement with the Korean government. Since relations went sour some years ago, the Korean wave has almost completely ended, and it has since been replaced by a fairly strict antipathy towards Korea in general. Even liberal figures such as Ikegami Akira have come out on TV to claim that Korea is an enemy country who has been shitting on Japan for years.

    Samsung phones are popular all around the world; all except Japan, where the biggest cellular company, Docomo, promoted them heavily for a while, but has since stopped doing so, and they sell pretty badly. Korean TVs own the TV market across the world, in Japan they’re not even in the shelves. And of course Korean cars are non-entity.

    Koreans individually aren’t treated badly most of the time. It depends on ideology; the right hates them, blames them for every single crime that happens in Japan, everything bad that ever happened was done by a Korean, or if it turns out to be Japanese, they claim he’s a secret Korean who naturalized and change his name.

    The left on the other hand loves them, praises them as poor victims of Japanese imperialism and promotes their causes all the time. Koreans have two strong lobbies, one by North Koreans the Chosen Soren, and one by South Koreans, the Mindan; both are pretty effective and have dozens of Japanese politicians in their pocket; across all parties. The governor of Tokyo just caused a scandal by lending public land for a Korean school, instead of using it to open badly needed daycare centers.

    Japan imports plenty of parts, food and other products; but high-margin consumer products are almost unseen. The general feeling is that Korean products are intrinsically bad; not quite as bad as Chinese products, but not something that a self-respecting Japanese should buy. Of course that also varies with ideology; rightist men consider all Korean products to be poisonous and evil; while some leftists may buy some just to make a point of their ethnic tolerance. Those are few, though.

    Why exactly do you need my name?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  81. 22pp22 says:

    My typing two words in Japanese seems to have upset you a lot. You then went on about my comments on Korea – which I had never made. Strange.

    • Replies: @spandrell
  82. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    “The Chinese move to Canada and Australia for the same reason the Brits did – there’s lots of temperate space there. They don’t move there for parliamentary democracy.”

    Chinese would move to Canada if it were run by Mexicans?

    • Replies: @Rdm
    , @Anonymous
  83. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    “Mao was more like Lincoln”

    you might say Mao was like Lincoln in that he waged war to unify China.

    But Lincoln wanted peace and forgiveness with the South.
    He was no firebrand nut. Tragically, he died soon after the war.

    Mao lived on for a long time and brought ruination on China. He built nothing.

    China would have done better unified by Chiang.

  84. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    “Japan has managed to retain its first world status quite well and from an economic standpoint is probably ahead of the UK at this time.”

    Japanese are not having kids. Japanese elites are western-trained and brainwashed by PC. Japanese women got jungalo fever. Japan will soon take in millions of black Africans, and Japan will become Africanized.

    Japanese women no longer put out to to Japanese wussy men who die childless.

    Japan is over.

  85. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    One good thing about Japan is anti-Korean antipathy.

    Koreans are the lowest forms of life in the universe. A bunch of whore puppet running dogs of the Jewish-Homo US.

    Maybe only Filipinos are lower than Korean Morons, aka Korons.

    But the Filos at least have some charm. I mean Imelda Marcos kills me.

    Filos are so ludicrous that it’s impossible to hate them. They are fun.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  86. @Anonymous

    How exactly does militarily puny Japan “contain” China?

    Japan would be a Chinese-occupied colony within weeks, or less, without the USA backing them up.

    They should be told to stop their protectionist crap against our products and services AND continue buying U.S. government debt — both — or we will cut them loose and make clear to China that China can do whatever it wishes with Japan.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  87. @Priss Factor

    Boy, if I were still single, I’d tour Japan helping to singlehandedly end their fertility crisis. Glad to do my part by adding a few thousand tall, half-white “Japanese” to the otherwise aging population. Oh baby…..

  88. Rehmat says:
    @Priss Factor

    Philippines is western colony established by Christian Crusader to honor their King Philip II by occupying Muslim islands.

    In 1521 CE, Ferdinand Magellan “discovered” these islands and claimed them for Spain under Crusaders’ rule. Confusing them with Spanish Moors – he named them Moros. The Moros rejected his claim and revolted under the leadership of Lapu Lapu, a Muslim, who susequently killed Magellan. Since that day, Moros fought with Spaniards’ occupation for the next 350 year. In 1898 CE, as the result of Spanish-American War – Muslim region of Mindanao was awarded to the US as part of Treaty of Paris. It was only Muslim groups which fought against the US occupation, which the Christians collaborated with the US occupation authority – which, therefore, trained and educated them to become elites in Philippines.

    US took over the task of destroying Moros’ armed resistance. In 1913 CE, US occupation force passed a law for grabbing Muslim land – which allowed Christians to own up to 16 hectares – while a Muslim can own only half of it. In 1919 CE – Christian quota was increased to 24 hectares.

    According to Canadian war reporter, Eric Margolis’ article “America’s Shame” – “During 1900-1904 CE conquest of Philippines – US forces killed 50,000-100,000 Muslim civilians.”

  89. spandrell says: • Website

    Just making a point. We should be friends really, we share a lot. All I said is the fact Japan doesn’t see Korea as the source of their culture, that Mr. Fingletonn is clueless for asserting they do, and you coming out of the blue calling me the clueless.

    Well I am not clueless, I know Japan as well, or perhaps better than you do, and Mr. Fingletonn has a history of making baseless assertions in order to bash Japan. If you are fond of Japan, and not fond of Korea, you shouldn’t come out to help out Mr. Fingletonn, much less support one of his baseless assertions.

    As you seem to agree, the West should be more like Japan, not Japan be more like the West. Well, Mr. Fingletonn seems to prefer the latter.

  90. @Rehmat

    That is wonderful news Rehmat. Mohammedans are and always have been our enemy.

    We did the Philippines a great service in crushing the Moros and giving their land to Christians.

  91. Rdm says:
    @Priss Factor

    Chinese have been migrating all over the world.

  92. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It would nuclearize overnight, for one. It wouldn’t be militarily puny if the US retreated from the Pacific. Japan would be a major regional military power in the Pacific if the US left, and it would build a network of alliances to balance China.

    Or Japan would just try to foster better relations with China, which is its largest trading partner.

    They wouldn’t be able to buy Treasuries without trade surpluses.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  93. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Yes, the claim about Korea being seen as the source of their culture is totally wrong. They do believe that some early Korean craftsmen and artisans travelled to Japan and had some influence, and that the ancient Korean kingdom of Baekje had some ties to ancient Japan, but this has nothing to do with Korea being seen as the “source” of Japanese culture.

    • Replies: @spandrell
  94. The era of buying “American” products with any fruitful effect on the local economy is long gone. Get over it.

    Japanese autos cited as an example of trade imbalance? Lol, my Toyota Tundra was made in Indiana, my dad’s Caddy was made in Canada. America made crappy cars for decades. I remember the cars back in the ’80s and ’90s; they sucked. Yank autos got their butts handed to them by superior competitors and products. Fact.

    Yeah, I also remember the mid/late ’80s and the early ’90s, Japan Inc. and the bubble economy looked like an unstoppable monster. I mean, Good Lord, they were buying up everything (nobody told American companies they had to sell). Then the bubble burst, then the Americans went full retard and suicided their economy for cheap Chinese goods.

    I don’t know, this article is all over the place. The main theme I get is the author pining for a non-globalized economy and the historical American disdain for responsibility (oh, it’s not my fault, honey! Gotta run out to Walmart real quick!).

  95. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    As you seem to agree, the West should be more like Japan, not Japan be more like the West. Well, Mr. Fingletonn seems to prefer the latter.

    I’m not exactly sure what Fingleton prefers, but he seems to advocate a more protectionist, manufacturing oriented industrial economic policy for the US. So in that sense he seems to prefer that the US were more like Japan.

  96. @Sean the Neon Caucasian

    That’s a remarkably stupid, ineffectual, platitudinous little rant.

    For the record, I appreciate Mr. Fingleton’s observations of market-fundamentalism and hope he won’t be dissuaded in the future by this mostly unthinking commentary.

  97. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    You just believe the western hype that glosses over the many war crimes the west commuted while it ruled over the rest of the world. Rape, genocide, slavery were all things the west did in order to rule China.

    Hard to say that the British did such a bang up job when they were forcing opium on another country.

    Blame the Jews all you want for what has happened to the west, but being subservient to a tribe that continuously seeks to destroy Anglos and then doing nothing about it hardly makes the rest of the world want to emulate the West.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  98. @22pp22

    Remember, we’re talking over five hundred years or so of racial hatred. That kind of hatred doesn’t disappear in a wink of an eye. Granted it can fade from time to time but the idea that a nation as race conscious and cultural obsessive about their own place in the world as Japan giving acknowledgement to Korea for much of anything relevant is just patently ridiculous. Over their respective histories both Japan and Korea have been at war with one another (usually with Japan winning and fairly decisively). Obviously war isn’t about to break out anytime soon. At the same time, the idea that

    All one would have to do is to see how serious Japan, a nation of ca.126 million, is regarding immigration and specifically from Korea. And again, Japan remains roughly about 97/98% ethnically Japanese.

    An Indian reporter for the BBC a few yrs back did something along the lines of a 9 to 10 part documentary on Japan and she noted quite strongly “Outside Tokyo, minorities simply don’t exist in any relevant number. Even in Tokyo, foreigners don’t dominate the city the way they do in other countries. They simply aren’t that commonplace. They’re there, but in sheer numbers they really aren’t.” She went on to mention that in most hospitals across the country, its very hard to find doctors and nurses who speak a non-Japanese language. They’re most likely there, but certainly not commonplace and that’s the point of it all.

    Regarding population total numbers, Tokyo and London’s metros are somewhat comparable. In other words it would be as if London had less than 1% total of non-western white people walking about. You would have to go back to right before Thatcher was elected PM in the late 70’s to find the last time when that situation (the total population of less than 1% non-whites) existed in London. And if an Indian from Britain is making a strong point about Tokyo having so few non-Japanese, that’s quite telling to say the least, especially as Tokyo is a major global metropolis.

  99. @spandrell

    Of course Fingletonn prefers the later. His UK is in the economic outhouse and no longer the economic power of decades ago. Rather than publicly admit that perhaps the Japanese know what they’re doing for their own nation and that its been a success, all he can try is to attempt to bring it down a few pegs rather than suggest “Maybe the West ought to try Japan’s trade policies for its own nations”

    Its almost as if he and others (the Economist, WSJ, etc) are constantly telling Japan “Don’t you want to become more like us? We have tons of immigration to dilute our historical culture, and yes at times we do have more challenges (e.g. as what’s going on now in Western Europe with all the assimilation problems), oh, and of course we have a lot of free trade to drive down our nation’s wages and outsource our manufacturing, but all in all look how well we’re doing. Why don’t you want to become more like us and emulate the economic policies we’re doing?”

    Why indeed. Perhaps they really do have more sense than most.

    • Replies: @the Southerner
  100. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    apparently you haven’t read any of the man’s books, or even his articles. Maybe its your histrionics? Histrionics tend to impede comprehension.

    Fingleton has squarely blamed Anglo-American market-fundamentalism for its internal contradictions, not the far-Eastern model for rightly exploiting the inner cowardice of the same fundamentalism for their own benefit.

    If you read closely, Fingleton implicitly approves of the Far-Eastern model. He congratulates it for recognizing the centrality of manufacturing for a nation’s health and by extension the ancillary political policies necessary to maintain such an order.

    Again, I can’t imagine why you think Fingleton supports American market-fundamentalism. Everything he’s been saying and doing is a sustained attack on it.

  101. @spandrell

    “Fingleton has a history of making baseless assertions in order to bash Japan”

    In his books and articles, Fingleton juxtaposes Japan to American market-fundamentalism to illustrate how stupid that Americanism is, if not suicidal. How does that “bash” Japan?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  102. Priss Factor [AKA "Dominique Francon Society"] says: • Website

    “You just believe the western hype that glosses over the many war crimes the west commuted while it ruled over the rest of the world. Rape, genocide, slavery were all things the west did in order to rule China.”

    Anglos didn’t rape many Chinese.

    There was war and some killing but no genocide. Chinese were much better at killing other Chinese.
    Slavery? Chinese had it already. When did Brits enslave Chinese? You got me.

    Opium trade was bad stuff. But Chinese government handled it badly. And it was a Jewish guy who controlled the trade, so it wasn’t just Anglos doing bad stuff.
    And other Europeans joined in the imperialist venture as well.

    But overall, I would say Anglo influence was best for China. Suppose NO nation but Anglos had influenced China. It would have been better. Germans and Japanese were worse for China. But Germans did give them Tsingtao beer which is pretty good.

    Watch Noble House. Brits can be devious and nasty, but they do have principles and honor, at least more than most peoples. It’s because they are very hard on themselves.

  103. @Rehmat

    Hey Rehmat, you worshipper of a pedophile “prophet”, DBUH (Disgrace Be Upon Him): my wife is Filipina and her family thanks God that their country was not allowed to be taken over by Muslims.

    The neverending violence, intimidation, and demands from the Muslims on the big southern island Mindanao — and the small islands like Tawi-Tawi etc. trailing south off Zamboanga — has them frightened and concerned, and rightly so.

    Like us, the Filipinos need to wake up and do whatever it takes to remove Muslims and the sickness of islam from their land.

  104. @Anonymous

    Some fair points there, Anon. In particular, you’re right that Japan would need to acquire nuclear weapons to have a hope of effectively deterring China without a US security guarantee.

    That, however, is no reason to keep bilking American taxpayers to defend Japan for the Japanese. Let the Japanese acquire nukes and spend THEIR taxpayers’ money to build their navy and air force, in particular, to where they need to be.

    As for Japan still being a military lightweight at least vis-à-vis China, that seems likely even if they get nukes and expand their pathetically small and weak armed forces. China has at least 25x the land area of Japan — not counting Taiwan, which eventually will be part of China officially — and about ELEVEN TO TWELVE times the population of Japan.

    China also has a looooong land border with Russia’s Far East — very sparsely populated lands which contain vast reserves of oil, natural gas, and rare-earth metals (vitally important in hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle and many other commercial and industrial applications). Russia has no chance of defending those lands against China in a conventional conflict, and China is slowly taking those territories by having ethnically Han people simply move into those lands as permitted anyway. A growing, younger Chinese population stares across that long border — or stares across the marketplaces in eastern Russian towns themselves — at a shrinking, aging Russian population that will have no chance to defend itself.

    So China has a ready opportunity to seize enormous natural resources that will serve it all in military conflict and economic competition, while Japan has no such opportunity.

    If the US ever wises up and drops it security guarantee to Japan, we will see a nuclear Japan with a bigger military, but it will still be no match whatsoever for China even with other nearby countries on its side.

  105. Svigor says:

    Muslims know all about racism, being the experts. Until quite recently they were very fond of buying black African slaves and castrating or genitally mutilating them. They disfigured untold thousands of black slaves in this fashion. In fact, they’d probably still be at it, if not for the pesky crusaders and their ban on the practices.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  106. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Race is likely also plays a role in Japan and China favoring each other over western nations; in China, white people, Arabs, blacks, and Hindus, etc, are correctly considered foreigners, but the Japanese are not referred to as foreigner.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  107. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Japan and China don’t favor each other:

    China is Japan’s primary antagonist. They have a major trading relationship because they’re the second and third largest economies and they’re right next to each other.

  108. spandrell says: • Website

    Exactly. Japan does acknowledge that much of its culture came from China, and some of that came to Japan via Baekje, but that’s about it. Baekje is not modern Korea; Korea descends from Silla, who murdered Baekje. There’s some evidence the old language of Baekje was closer to modern Japanese than it was to Korean.

  109. @Wally

    Personally, I don’t think Trump is going to succeed in opening up Japanese markets to American imports, even if that is his real goal (which I doubt). I do think that, with Trump at the helm, we can succeed in nationalizing the US economy and making it more like Japan’s. I think that is Trump’s real goal, since it is the only outcome that would be both beneficial and achievable.

    A Tokugawa America—an America closed off, self-sufficient, and quiet—is what I most desire for my country, and I think we can make a start of it with Trump.

  110. @Jim Christian

    the japanese birth rate does not continue to decline, for the last there was a slow but steady rise. I do not have any sources for the official statistics for the year 2014 but I think I have seen it somewhere in the last weeks (just can´t find the source anymore in the Internet), and it said that the TFR for Japan for 2015 was 1,47. Which means that japanese people have more children than ethnic Germans, Poles, Spanish people, Italians. Of course it is only slightly more, but it is not less.

    • Replies: @5371
    , @RadicalCenter
  111. @Historian

    “If they still had the deutschemark, it would have risen so much that their current account would be balanced.”
    and Germans would have a much higher living standard, cheaper oil, cheaper other imports

  112. @Priss Factor

    ideological Japan is as finished as western countries, for sure. Also they have the additional problem that for east asian men it might be even harder to survive on a partner market dominated by african immigrants. the great advantage they have is that when in the next decades people in the west and then in the rest of the world will wake up and try to correct to mistakes they made with open borders etc. Japan will be simply in a better starting position.

  113. @Philip Owen

    “A lot of the oil money was invested overseas”

    Aren’t you getting the UK mixed with Norway, of Sovereign Wealth Fund fame?

    Invested by whom? The British Government blew the oil tax receipts in the 1980s, they didn’t invest it overseas. And a number of the North Sea oil companies weren’t British, so their dividends wouldn’t have been retained in the UK. How can we tell that Britoil/BNOC/BP dividends went to buy overseas companies?

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  114. @Sean the Neon Caucasian

    It’s true that American cars aren’t what they were (I liked the design of my Chrysler, but wished they’d got the Japanese to do the electrics, heating system and controls – window controls in the centre console ?) – and the temptation to hide behind tariff walls needs to be resisted – but I refuse to believe there are no good engineers left there.

  115. @Anonymous

    It isn’t a question of Japan ‘allowing’ US troops to be stationed in Japan or Japan deciding whether it is worthwhile being a ‘lackey’. It is Japan which depends on US troops for its security. Those American troop bases are more important to Japan than to America. As for being a ‘lackey’ it is Japan that depends on US security, not the over way around. The fact that people don’t see how dependent Japan is on the USA is one of Japan’s remarkable tricks.

  116. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Thanks Eamonn!

  117. @5371

    the crude birth rate is not that important, because it is not only dependenton how many children people get, but also on the demographic structure. Because Japan has had below replacement for quite a long time currently every year the group of women in reproductive is decreasing.

  118. Philip Owen [AKA "Soarintothesky"] says:
    @Anonymous Nephew

    Invested by The City. The tax reliefs generated saved surpluses. If you were around at the time you may remember complaints about overseas investment rather than local investment. There are two things you can do with oil revenues. Spend them on imports or invest abroad. Saving the funds just defers the decision. The state doesn’t run everything. The City can do the job of a Sovereign Wealth Fund more effectively. Spending can be done via infrastructure development on its way to consumption but that drives inflation, a big dragon at the time.

    Dividends are a trivial component of added value in almost any economy. Nationalists and socialists don’t ever get this. In Russia for example, the state gets 90% of everything above \$35 a barrel. So much for dividends when oil was >\$100 and exploration and production investment was going flat out. Microscope required to find them.

  119. Philip Owen [AKA "Soarintothesky"] says:

    Actual evidence of wholesale and systematic castration of male slaves would be interesting. There were certainly Eunuchs but they were very expensive. This does not suggest wholesale castration. By the way, millions of the slaves were white. Crimea and Tripoli were major centres. The first military action by the US Marines was a raid on Tripoli to free Americans, mostly sailors, captured as slaves and to destroy the slaving fleet. It took the Russia conquest of Crimea, the France conquest of Algeria and the British-Portugese abolition of the slave trade world wide to stop the trade in European slaves. No Crusaders involved I’m afraid.

  120. 22pp22 says:

    How good/bad is Jeremy Clarkson’s attempt at an American accent?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  121. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There’s more to trade than cars. There’s rice, and seafood, and lumber, and rubber, and chips, and oil.

    Yes, and the US government actually does push strongly against Japanese protectionism for certain sectors, like agriculture, of which of course the US is a major producer and exporter. So Fingleton’s suggestion that the US does not care or do anything about Japanese protectionism is not accurate. It does for certain sectors like agriculture. For whatever reason, it doesn’t for others like the auto industry.

    The U.S. is much more demanding than Australia in terms of opening the Japanese market, demanding a full elimination of all tariffs. Japan is hoping that an agreement with Australia on moderate tariff reductions might help make the U.S. moderate its demands.

  122. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It’s good, although it is exaggerated, which of course adds to the comedic effect.

  123. @Erik Sieven

    What kind of argument is that? Essentially your figure establishes that Japan’s Japanese population will decline precipitously, if perhaps less precipitously than Germany’s German population or France’s French population. That’s cold comfort.

    Numbers matter for survival. A nation needs ample personnel to fight and if necessary, die, to defend its people, territory, resources, and interests. This requires a total fertility rate above replacement, preferably well above 2.0.

    Japan will need younger men OF ITS OWN RACE AND NATION for soldiers and to propagate further. It will not have enough. Same for Germany, France, and England. No way to talk around that harsh fact.

    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond
  124. Sam J. says:

    I like Fingleton’s work and have read his books. I wished our elites cared about us as the Japanese care about their people.

    Many people say that if the US leaves the Japanese will still be antagonistic to the Chinese. I’d bet that they would make up with the Chinese and eventually we would have a bipolar world with the White block vs. the Asian block. It would make strategic sense for the Japanese and the Chinese.

  125. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @the Southerner

    Fingleton tends to be hypocritical in his treatment of state directed economics and mercantilism. For example, he generally praises German mercantilism and cites it as a model, while he tends to portray Japanese and Chinese mercantilism as a nefarious plot. His real beef seems to be cultural/ethnic; see for example his piece at Forbes on Chinese dog eating. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, but it should be addressed directly, rather than sublimated into discussions about political economy.

  126. @RadicalCenter

    Japan will need younger men OF ITS OWN RACE AND NATION for soldiers and to propagate further.

    American negroes fight and die in American wars, and the French Foreign Legion enlisted fighting men from other cultures. You need officers from your race and culture, perhaps, but not fighting men – read cannon fodder.

    This is what y’all don’t understand about mass migration. In the end, it’s all about fighting men. [For myself, I’m against the whole build up for ultimate war against China. Many of y’all want to support that build up while rejecting the means.]

  127. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    The Japanese I know are, frankly, scared of Korea and China. Your historical points aside, I don’t think they see Korea as “subservient”. In many small ways (such as foreign language fluency), Koreans outperform Japanese, and Japanese are aware of this. In addition, the fact that younger generations of Japanese don’t care about their traditional culture so much means that the psychological impact of having the Koreans copy, for example, kendo as kumdo is much less than in the past.

  128. @Eamonn Fingleton

    I also live in Japan, and I met Spandrelll. He’s fluent in Japanese, intelligent, and well-read. I don’t see the point in asking him to reveal his identity.

    My experience supports his assertion that Japanese don’t want American cars… I see a few Hummers on the streets of my city, but otherwise BMWs or Lambourghinis dominate here. Of course, those are all luxury vehicles. I also know some middle class people who have put out for a lower end BMW… which has left-side oriented driving apparatus installed on the right side, making it backwards. In general, when I ask people about American cars, their response is “meh” (to use an Americanism).

    However, it seems to me that Japanese could not want American cars and the government could be protecting the auto industry at the same time. It seems like this is a question to be answered by reference to something objective, not arguing about perceptions of how Japanese feel.

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