Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Japan's vanishing middle ranks ?

In recent Bungei Shunju magazine, author Yo Mizuki
forecasts that the disappearance of mid-ranked entities
will be one of the key themes of 2005, stating that this
will be a year not only of polarization but when the
middle ground between poles disappears.

In the socioeconomic realm, he says, those at the top
will accentuate their superiority, while those lacking
the necessary qualities will fall further behind.

In an article bringing together predictions in various
fields that Mizuki compiled with the help of over 30
experts, he asserts that raising the consumption tax and
revising the Constitution will be the focus of the
political world.

As Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi becomes increasingly
viewed as a "lame duck," says Mizuki, it will be left to
the next administration to resolve these issues one way
or the other.

Regarding legislation on postal privatization, the key
item on the agenda of the ordinary Diet session, Mizuki
states that Koizumi will likely push legislation through
even if the compromises needed to do so mean that it is
significantly watered down.

On the subject of Koizumi's successor, as there is an
overwhelming swell of opinion favoring the relatively
young Liberal Democratic Party Acting Secretary General
Shinzo Abe, Mizuki says that the clock will not turn
back to allow one of the "mezzanine" group of older LDP
lawmakers (so called because they are viewed as above
the party's ordinary Diet members but below its top
leaders) to take over.

This, he observes, is an example of the vanishing
middle. He states that the same phenomenon will occur in
the financial and industrial sectors as middle-ranking
companies positioned just below the leading firms

Mizuki asserts that the disappearance of mid-ranked
entities, which results from the survival of the fittest
caused by open competition, is a negative phenomenon
from the point of view of social stability in that it
causes growing dissatisfaction among the people, leading
to an increase in crime. (Foreign Press Center) 02/05

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