This picture is from the Financial Times that I got on the airplane last Thursday. David Pilling writes in the accompanying editorial with the heading ‘The Japanese Miracle is Not Over’ that .. the grave faces of public officials cannot have looked much graver in 1945, after the nuclear bombs fell and Emperor Hirohito went on the radio to ask his countrymen to endure the unendurable. On Wednesday his son, Emperor Akihito, made a rare live television appearance to ask his people to work together to ‘overcome these difficult times’.
The recent events also made me recall a striking TIME magazine cover about Japan from when I was a student, and I just had to look it up. Found it – the cover of August 1, 1983. A lot has happened with Japan since that year : greatly inflated real estate and stock prices from 1986 to 1991 followed by a decade-long recession. I really hope things are looking up from here for Japan and its people.
From the TIME magazine article:
The Japanese postwar economic miracle is cresting. Japan is a fascinating success, as a business and as a society. It is prosperous and famously homogeneous, safe and civil, bound together by a social contract that is startlingly effective.
Today, Japan is the second most powerful economy in the free world. Its trillion-dollar-a-year industrial machine accounts for 10% of the world’s output. By 1990, the Japanese may achieve a per capita gross national product that surpasses that of the U.S. – Lance Morrow writing for TIME magazine’s Aug 1, 1983 issue