David Pilling: Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival

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David Pilling, Asia editor of the Financial Times and author of Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival, discussed the economic, social and political challenges facing Japan today, drawing on his firsthand coverage of Japan’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in March 2011.

On Abenomics: “I’m slightly more optimistic on Abenomics than some people. The central insight of Abenomics is if [Japan] can get out of deflation and get to inflation, then [the country] will be in a much better place. We won’t have solved all our problems, but it will be a better world from which to begin to solve these problems. Tax revenue will go up, the labor market might be better. Some of these things have come to fruition. ”

On the culture of change in Japan: “The notion that Japan doesn’t change is wrong. Japan changes in more of a subtle way that people don’t necessarily see... A better image for Japan is the Ise Shrine, which is [more than] 1,600 years old, but it’s also 20 years old. Why is that? Because it’s been continually rebuilt to the same specifications. It is a metaphor for Japan – that it’s continually rebuilding.”