Japan faces a delicate balancing act of empathising with the hard-hit survivors of the temblor-tsunami crisis and encouraging the other Japanese to spend money for an economic recovery.
At the heart of this challenge is the self-restraint of these other Japanese in their day-to-day spending, and this attitude is traced to their sense of solidarity with the forlorn victims of the March 11 natural disasters and the subsequent nuclear radiation crisis.
Such popular sensitivity towards fellow-Japanese has prompted the governor of Miyagi prefecture, one of the worst affected areas, to seek Prime Minister Naoto Kan's intervention to redress this trend. The Governor wanted Mr. Kan to take steps to “stop excessive self-restraint” in the day-to-day consumption of goods and services.
Recognising the need to keep the “entire domestic economy” ticking, Mr. Kan urged all Japanese to “tackle the post-quake situation in various ways, including by buying more products from Tohoku [the affected region] to help its economy revitalise”.
Narrating such an unusual political challenge, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said in Tokyo that some Ministers agreed that “excessive self-restraint” would prove deleterious to the entire Japanese economy. The planned efforts by the state agencies to reconstruct the devastated areas might also be affected in some way, it was felt.
Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto on Sunday met an ASEAN team to chart out how best Tokyo's ASEAN neighbours, all beneficiaries of Japanese investments and development aid, could now help promote recovery in Japan itself.
Keywords: Japan tsunami