TOKYO —Calls to protest bring thousands, the conventional press is shunned and rogue academics suddenly find people are willing to listen—it would be going too far to say Japan was joining the “Arab Spring,” but the nuclear crisis has shown there are limits to youth apathy in this country.
The 20 years since the bubble burst have at times seemed like an experiment to make a population as lethargic and hopeless as possible and then observe the decline. But there was always a twist that made things different than the malaise of a Tunisia or an Egypt: decent living standards. A roof over one’s head and food on the table are virtually guaranteed, and almost everyone has enough for a trendy wardrobe, a PlayStation and a night of oblivion in an izakaya once or twice a week. If you are satisfied with that, you don’t even have to work very hard for it. Read More