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Japanese Property - Lessons from the Long Correction

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Look where Japan is in this relative comparison

 

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Look where Japan is in this relative comparison

Yep! And look at Britain! 33% overvalued-about right, I'd guess.

 

Japan -34...question is, is this a buy signal or is there more pain ahead? I suppose that depends where you are looking to buy. One thing to be ascertained is that this is how traumatised the housing market becomes after years of falling prices. It makes you wonder how far UK prices will undershoot. My guess will be about 50% for an average.

 

Prices in gold have further to fall here too, I would imagine.

 

Thanks for the foreclosed link. I have seen many in Japanese and check locally from time to time. It is sad to see cases where often I'll know the foreclosed upon and know what hard times those families have become victim too. The banks are quite merciless-but that is the name of the game I suppose. Oftentimes those properties really are dead ducks though, unless you want a second home. Even at next to nothing prices they are still going to cost you to repair, tax, maintain etc etc. They are not dead cert rentable-not at least in my neck of the woods...but maybe inside the Yamanote line...

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At +53.6% HK's even more overvalued than the UK (at +33.8%)

 

Thanks for the foreclosed link.

I have seen many in Japanese and check locally from time to time. It is sad to see cases where often I'll know the foreclosed upon and know what hard times those families have become victim too. The banks are quite merciless-but that is the name of the game I suppose. Oftentimes those properties really are dead ducks though, unless you want a second home. Even at next to nothing prices they are still going to cost you to repair, tax, maintain etc etc. They are not dead cert rentable-not at least in my neck of the woods...but maybe inside the Yamanote line...

Are you saying that you know people whose places are being foreclosed upon?

 

If so, what is your opinion of the properties, and the prices achieved? It sounds liek most are "dead ducks". Do you ever see nay that you would have like to buy?

 

What about Hotels. Have you ever seen an interesting Hotel go through foreclosure?

 

Can you say a bit more about what you are doing for your livelihood and whether it keeps you in the present area?

 

BUY SIGNAL?

I think we will see another drop in markets, and it will hit Japanese stocks and Japanese property. However, I did buy the following AIM-quoted stock at lower prices last year and made some money on it, but I have been selling down recently, to wait for bargains.

 

JRIC.L / Japan Residential Investment Co ... update

xxx.gif

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At +53.6% HK's even more overvalued than the UK (at xx%)

Are you saying that you know people whose places are being foreclosed upon?

 

If so, what is your opinion of the properties, and the prices achieved? It sounds liek most are "dead ducks". Do you ever see nay that you would have like to buy?

What about Hotels. Have you ever seen an interesting Hotel go through foreclosure?

Can you say a bit more about what you are doing for your livelihood and whether it keeps you in the present area?

Sure, I know many who have been foreclosed upon. They are usually wrecked families before or shortly after. Their homes are usually left for a couple of years and when nobody rents them they are bulldozed and made over to parking, or simply gaps in the road.

The banks sell them for the remaining part of the loan-in some cases it is a sin to inflict such hardship on people for so little money. But there you go. Some of the places are super and often the extended families or a rich benefactor will jump in and save the necks of the unfortunate. I have seen many indeed I like but I don't think it would be morally acceptable for me to jump in and 'force out' someone from the community. I would be sent to Coventry. For outside buyers it would be possible to buy perhaps but then unrentable and thus a waste of money for them. However in bigger towns and smaller cities, esp apartments/condos this is the way to buy. I was chasing a house, big, detached with a lot of land-hectares of the stuff (that was my real interest) for about 50K but I was warned off as it turned out a relative of some Yakuza. Nobody will touch that.

Small Inns, I have seen but not into that line of business, and larger hotels simply unaffordable to me so I give them a miss when they come up.

 

I am married to a local and we have extensive family (community?) although some are rather 'taxing'. I have a fairly good business in education and other family concerns. What keeps me here? Well I had been trying to relocate to the UK but...And I sort of came around to thinking that the place where I am actually fills the criterion for the next 5-10 years actually rather well. It is also stunningly beautiful, rural, good food, low population, safe etc etc Downside is nobody speaks English well and it is culturally a desert. As you get older I value 'culture' less and community more, so maybe that's no bad thing. City is near enough away to be comfortable for a day trip, just. It was for my kids that I wanted to move originally and now I think it is for my kids that I should stay! I don't own the land where I live but pay a peppercorn rent on it. I drive two old(ish) cars and live fairly frugally cycling wherever possible. I have zero debts and don't seek any out. You know I am super bearish. Maybe I found my shangri la but never realized it, till you made me think about it. How ironic is that?

 

Also think house prices will slip here too. Stock market to 6000, maybe 4,000. Then Japan MAY turn.

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Sure, I know many who have been foreclosed upon....

Maybe I found my shangri la but never realized it, till you made me think about it. How ironic is that?

 

Also think house prices will slip here too. Stock market to 6000, maybe 4,000. Then Japan MAY turn.

That is very interesting, and may (somehow) fit in with a project that I am thinking about.

I am trying to get a group of people together here, who have an interest in a joint investment,

and it would be extremely useful to have a contact with "boots on the ground".

 

Can you please PM to me your location? I want to do a bit more study on it, prior to a lunch that I am trying to set up.

 

Without a local, on the ground contact, my major investment in Japan would likely be through publicly quoted co's,

and this is one of my favorites:

 

JP:8958 / Global One R.E. Inv ... update

xxx.gif

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That is very interesting, and may (somehow) fit in with a project that I am thinking about.

I am trying to get a group of people together here, who have an interest in a joint investment,

and it would be extremely useful to have a contact with "boots on the ground".

 

Can you please PM to me your location? I want to do a bit more study on it, prior to a lunch that I am trying to set up.

Sounds interesting. PM sent.

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My wife is from a town of 80,000 down near Hiroshima. Trouble is, it used to be well over 100,000! It is amazing the difference this makes, how the life of the town has been sucked out over the years. They have flattened the department store in front of the station, taken the roof off the shotengai and knocked half of it down. And this is a town that has the Shinkansen coming through (admittedly only the Kodama)

 

Central Tokyo I think is a different case altogether, different world almost.

While I wouldn't touch commericial property, as prices come down people will be tempted to live in the centre and the satellite towns will shrink. Public transport is so good, owning a car is ludicrous, even out in Nerima where I am.

 

JRIC fits in with my perspective and the buildings they own pass my 'make sense' test to me as someone living here. I've been meaning to tuck some away.

 

I'm reconsidering now as I need a hedge against a weakening currency here as I have a substantial sum of JPY.

Inertia/sleeping on it everytime I think about shorting the yen has proved very wise over the last two years!

Still, if it hits 85 vs the dollar I am worried about intervention and property shares like JRIC may be potentially interesting play.

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GOT AUSSIE PROPERTY? Better get out

 

...from Yelnick...

Australia is the Most Overvalued

The Economist looked at housing bubbles worldwide and found Australia the most overvalued. The basis for the conclusion is price-to-rent. ...

Nice table. However, if rents start/continue falling the price-rent ratio will start to make housing look increasingly overpriced.

 

In the UK you have the reduced housing benefit that may help rents fall. In the US you have contraction in the number of households, with people moving in with relatives, that might help rents fall.

RISMEDIA, April 9, 2010—(MCT)—The number of American households dropped by an estimated 1.2 million between 2005 and 2008, even though the population increased by 3.4 million in 80 of the largest metropolitan areas during that time, according to a new study by a professor at the University of Southern California.

http://rismedia.com/2010-04-08/study-numbe...by-1-2-million/

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Sounds interesting. PM sent.

Here's a line of interest on trends. Maybe interesting...

 

Last October the Japanese edition of the magazine The Big Issue addressed the youth housing problem in Japan, conducting a survey of young Japanese in Tokyo and Osaka and interviewing several experts on the topic. Kobe University Professor of Human Development and Environmental Studies Yosuke Hirayama noted that changing demographics have caused housing problems for Japan’s youth. Most housing benefits came from “groups” that people joined – notably companies and families. Participation in these groups, however, is declining. People are waiting longer to get married, and the number of people with regular employment is falling. Housing subsidies and cheap company housing provided by companies for full-time employees enabled young people to save money, which they could put toward a house in the future.

 

Options for youth now are limited. Young singles are not usually eligible for cheap public housing, and while post-bubble deflation affected most of the economy, rents continued to rise. This has lead to “parasite singles” (youth who live rent-free with parents, draining their resources) and “net cafe refugees” (people who, not being able to make rent, turn to cheap options at net cafes for a place to turn in for the night).

 

Hitsuji Real Estate is a Web site that is doing its best to promote collective housing as a solution to the problem. The site, which started in 2005, maintains an extensive list of apartment shares across Japan, most of which are in the Kanto area. In exchange for listings on the site, which include professional photographs, apartments must meet the standards of the site. This is in contrast to the looser atmosphere of roomshare.jp, a message board where those with rooms to rent and those looking for rooms can freely post messages and search text listings.

 

In the survey conducted by The Big Issue, however, 60 percent of respondents stated that they did not want to live in shared housing because “it would be troublesome to live with strangers.” While cash-strapped foreigners in Japan have long opted for guest houses and shared housing, such as the English-friendly Sakura House, Japanese have been more hesitant to use the same techniques, perhaps with the exception of university dormitories. In order to help, Hitsuji Real Estate provides a detailed FAQ on the site with answers to questions like “Who lives there?” “What is it like to live there?” “Do problems ever happen?” and “What does dormitory-style mean?”

 

Some young Japanese are even working on their own to combat the housing problem, which I can attest from personal experience. I currently share an apartment with five Japanese and one Korean. Teppei Ohashi, one of my roommates, incorporated himself into the company G Place and rented the apartment. Initially all the roommates were Japanese. They lived together at a guesthouse in Gotanda and decided to move somewhere smaller. My roommate Ayako noted that it was, to a certain extent, easier to live in the guesthouse, as there was less responsibility, beyond paying your own rent and keeping the place clean. The apartment does have its perks – more space and privacy. Teppei rents another apartment as well, which he then lets out as a women-only apartment share. Currently three women from Myanmar are living there while they work at a bento company. As is evident from his site, he has other apartments and is looking for other real estate to rent out.

 

He is also interested in collective housing as a solution to Japan’s aging population – if young and old could share together, he believes, the young could help care for the old as part of their daily life. He works as a caretaker, spending some nights on call.

 

The media coverage in Japan treats shared housing as exceptional cases, which is easy when you find a group of geeks living together, but it’s clear that, despite hesitancy, collective housing is becoming more natural for the natives.

 

For foreigners interest mainly and short to medium term this link will be useful.

 

http://www.sakura-house.com/

 

A slightly up market version for Japanese may also be a worthy goal. eg Buy a 2nd hand house in Tokyo/Osaka, fix it up for communal living space. Rents 50,00-80,000/person (ie well below what you would otherwise pay, solar panel the place if appropiate or at least solar water and eco cute system to make it an 'eco friendly rental home). In fact this is already happening naturally and recently subject of a TV drama.

The kids are wising up and don't want to become Otaku's, living lonely heart lives in some one room hell. They crave a family but can't for whatever reason (socio-economic etc) afford one. They re learn the values of a closer knit society where each has independance yet can fall back on each other if need be. In some instances I have heard that older men and younger women this relationship (father-daughter) works out very well. Women feel safer and men get the occaisional hot meal and feminine touch in the household (one would think). Rents are often reflected in the socio- economic make up.

nb Women do not become the mother/wife/carer. Roles are clearly defined to avoid abuse.

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Here's a line of interest on trends. Maybe interesting...

 

Hitsuji Real Estate is a Web site that is doing its best to promote collective housing as a solution to the problem. ...

 

Some young Japanese are even working on their own to combat the housing problem, which I can attest from personal experience. I currently share an apartment with five Japanese and one Korean. Teppei Ohashi, one of my roommates, incorporated himself into the company G Place and rented the apartment. Initially all the roommates were Japanese. They lived together at a guesthouse in Gotanda and decided to move somewhere smaller. My roommate Ayako noted that it was, to a certain extent, easier to live in the guesthouse, as there was less responsibility, beyond paying your own rent and keeping the place clean. The apartment does have its perks – more space and privacy. Teppei rents another apartment as well, which he then lets out as a women-only apartment share. Currently three women from Myanmar are living there while they work at a bento company. As is evident from his site, he has other apartments and is looking for other real estate to rent out.

 

He is also interested in collective housing as a solution to Japan’s aging population – if young and old could share together, he believes, the young could help care for the old as part of their daily life. He works as a caretaker, spending some nights on call.

 

The media coverage in Japan treats shared housing as exceptional cases, which is easy when you find a group of geeks living together, but it’s clear that, despite hesitancy, collective housing is becoming more natural for the natives.

Intriguing, Jake.

 

Has he thought of Renting properties acquired thru Foreclosure?

 

One idea might be that a group could acquire a foreclosed property and rent it to him. Do you think that arrangement would have any interest to him? What is the "wear and tear" on the properties like? I suppose if the properties were acquired cheaply enough, in decent locations, and the yields were decent, it might not matter too much, since the main value is IN THE LAND, right?

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Dr B you in box is full so reply here, before I lose it.

 

Thanks for the video speech. He guides over the pitfalls very well. I wonder though if he is simply ignoring the problem of oil. Chris seems to think the Japanese will overcome this problem by some measure of ingenuity. I agree with him though that people will still flood into Tokyo so, with an eye on the time span of ones investment, it is probably a good bet. And yet...I feel there is an element of rear view analysis here which could be dangerous. You have to look forward at looming problems and he is right on the smaller homes/demographics front. I have said similar before. So in the short term I think he is right. But is it worth it?

 

I wonder if you would have a read of this (useful summary at the end) and have Chris digest it. I think it is a top article and one very much in touch with our predicament today cue JHK/2beers with Steve/peak oil/etc. Anyway have a browse-written in 2000 it is a very perceptive essay.

 

Food & Energy - How will Japan Feed Itself ?

http://www9.ocn.ne.jp/~aslan/21fee.pdf

 

Also this from a Blogger here in Japan written this month.

 

Welcome to Japan's next Depression

http://kenelwood.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/depression/

 

Apologies for late reply...just been snorkelling in some perfect conditions (practising my spear fishing-lol). Time for a fresh coffee!

 

I have added some comments to the Japan thread too, maybe of interest?

 

J.

 

ps what does Chris mean here.

 

''Japan is certainly ripe for change, but getting people away from the "old" way of doing things, thinking independently, etc., is going to be difficult.''

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Intriguing, Jake.

 

Has he thought of Renting properties acquired thru Foreclosure?

 

One idea might be that a group could acquire a foreclosed property and rent it to him. Do you think that arrangement would have any interest to him? What is the "wear and tear" on the properties like? I suppose if the properties were acquired cheaply enough, in decent locations, and the yields were decent, it might not matter too much, since the main value is IN THE LAND, right?

My apologies, that was just a cut and paste job.

 

I think you have put your finger on my pulse though..in renting properties acquired through foreclosure. Problem, No finance is available for that arrangement. You'd have to be cash alone.

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Thanks for the video speech. He guides over the pitfalls very well.

I wonder though if he is simply ignoring the problem of oil. Chris seems to think the Japanese will overcome this problem by some measure of ingenuity. I agree with him though that people will still flood into Tokyo'

I spoke to him about this, when I met him for lunch a few weeks ago, and I think he said that Japan would cope with rising oil prices better than most countries

 

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I spoke to him about this, when I met him for lunch a few weeks ago, and I think he said that Japan would cope with rising oil prices better than most countries

I am sure that the Japanese will simply shurg their shoulders and cough up for more expensive gasoline WITHOUT REALLY EXAMINING why. And the mitigation process has started. Prius hybrids and Honda Insight take center stage now on the road. The news yesterday spoke of Hondas new electric mid size vehicles coming on line in 2012 and we already have the Mitsubiushi Miev and soon the Nossan Leaf all electric. The hope here is to fix those solar panels on your roof ASAP and then charge your batteries to run the wheels of the economy, gasoline free-or much reduced anyway.

 

But is that enough to reverse the effect of peak oil on a country (and economy) basically held hostage to oil?

 

Think I heard it on a podcast best..

 

''if you want to drive to Canada from the US, but are going 100mph in the direction of Mexico, slowing down to 30mph, isn't going to get you to your destination.''

 

We are merely squeezing the last drops of energy supply rather than really turn ourselves around form the oil dependency culture.

 

How are all those Tokyoites going to be fed?It is like one quarter of the population up there in the Tokyo Basin.

 

In what other ways does Chris see the Japanese coping better with the rise in the price, or the scarcity of, oil? Maybe he is just kicking it out of sight of his investment timeline. I agree with him though that central Tokyo will go on functioning longer than other cities...in the same way as London will keep moving when Birmingham or Liverpool is dying...and thus represents the best for investment. Maybe. As he is only in it for yield and not capital appreciation, I wonder if it is worth the investment risk? You also have the other potential pitfalls he highlights in the video-not least the earthquake threat for the Tokyo region..60 years overdue. Fine if your investment is a new 'quake proof' building but not so good if you are in 30 year old one room apts, which he recommends as the highest yield/best investments.

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id say the uk is only 33% overvalued with the assumption of normalised interest rates. if we have an inflation outcome then forget those prices!!!

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id say the uk is only 33% overvalued with the assumption of normalised interest rates. if we have an inflation outcome then forget those prices!!!

Problem:

How do you get money into people's hands to cause inflation?

 

If Sterling (or Yen) drops, and energy and food prices inflate, it will not help Property prices initially.

In fact, that would probably hit property prices by raising rates BEFORE spendable incomes rise.

 

This is a problem that the Japanese have faced for years. They tried aggressive stimulus spending,

and that did not work well. And property prices declined, despite low rates

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''if you want to drive to Canada from the US, but are going 100mph in the direction of Mexico, slowing down to 30mph, isn't going to get you to your destination.''

OOOPS. That sounds just like someone describing the new (British?) "austerity"! :lol:

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Problem:

How do you get money into people's hands to cause inflation?

 

:rolleyes: I thought we were through that:

 

“Currency Produced Cost-Push Hyperinflation” VS “Demand-Pull (non-hyper) Inflation.”

 

http://www.greenenergyinvestors.com/index....st&p=175992

Excuse me, but I am asking a SERIOUS question, and an important one.

And I have asked it repeatedly, and I have been hoping for better "boiler plate" answers than that!

 

Here are some possible answers, none which I do not find satisfying:

 

+ "Citizens Income" - Money will be "printed" and mailed out as cheques to all citizens

(this simply cheats those who work and pay taxes, and would be unpopular amongst Tea party people etc)

 

+ "Lend it out" - encourage (nationalised?) banks to lend aggressively against various assets (housing?)

(this has been done already in a limited way, and is an important source of our present problems.)

 

+ "Bailout industries" - the government takes over failing companies, and asks them to go on hiring sprees,

with losses covered by QE

 

Have you got any better ideas?

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Problem:

How do you get money into people's hands to cause inflation?

Excuse me, but I am asking a SERIOUS question, and an important one.

And I have asked it repeatedly, and I have been hoping for better "boiler plate" answers than that!

 

Here are some possible answers, none which I do not find satisfying:

 

+ "Citizens Income" - Money will be "printed" and mailed out as cheques to all citizens

(this simply cheats those who work and pay taxes, and would be unpopular amongst Tea party people etc)

 

+ "Lend it out" - encourage (nationalised?) banks to lend aggressively against various assets (housing?)

(this has been done already in a limited way, and is an important source of our present problems.)

 

+ "Bailout industries" - the government takes over failing companies, and asks them to go on hiring sprees,

with losses covered by QE

 

Have you got any better ideas?

 

its not a serious quesiton at all.

central bank buys assets that puts money into peoples hands. if it buys govvies then the government spends. sooner or later people will make a few reaslisations:

 

1. there is no recovery due to the debt burden sapping demand

2. money supply has expanded

3. rates are not compensating them for the risk of more expasion

 

therefore real rates will go up and cash will become trash - ie money velocity starts to rise, not because people want to borrow money and you get a credit multiplier, but because people dont want to hold onto money being debased. the economy will deteriorate more as real rates rise in anticipation of more inflation. then the government has a choice. do a volker and kill the inflation and purge the debt or let a spiral take place. sooner or later the inflation will purge the debt anyway on a cash flow basis.

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Nikkei leads everything...

xxxz.gif

 

That includes US stocks (SPX) and Japan property (by maybe 6-12 months)

 

Here's the EWJ (Japan etf) vs. SPY (etf for the S&P-500 / SPX) ... update : EWJ

xxxa.gif

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Just what it says...

 

Nikkei-225 led...

 

1/ Japanese property by about 1 year in putting in the top

 

2/ SPX stocks by weeks in going into big slides

 

Right now, N-225 is again showing signs of weakness, suggesting the other two might still be headed lower.

 

There's more than that to say, if you want to look more deeply

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This chart also shows clearly a cycle of 17-18 years

 

Cash Holdings, of Japanese corporations

japancash.jpg

 

Japanese corporations ran their cash down until early 1990, and again into 2007, to finance growth, and then stopped aburptly.

 

There's some correlation with JPY fx rates ... update : Wkly-10yrs : W-3years : D-1year

zzzzdb.gif

 

As the economy slows down, and they hold more cash, the Yen strengthens

 

Bulletpoints from WSJ article:

========

+ High corporate savings rate in Japan - A key cause of chronic deflation

+ 50% of Japanese corp's are virtually debt-free

+ Corporate financial surplus hit 7.3% of GDP for 12mos. ended March 2010

+ Other factors: falling wages, falling consumer sentiment; consumers prefer lower-priced products

 

 

Ways out of the liquidity trap:

1/ Corporations could decide to spend on capital expenditures, new hiring, etc

2/ Corporate profitability could improve from deregulation

3/ Confidence in the Yen could falter, and rates could rise, bringing inflation from rising costs

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Alexandra Harney has posted an interesting article on Slate

 

The Rise of the Parasite Singles

What Americans can learn from these macabre tales of mummified Japanese centenarians.

EXCERPTS

Tokyo officials found the mummified body of an 111-year-old man in his bed, 30 years after his death.

 

With almost one-quarter of the population over 65 years old, Japan has more than 40,300 centenarians, about 87 percent of them women. Government officials suspect that more supposed centenarians are dead, and at least some of the deaths went unreported by family members so they could continue to claim the elderly relatives' retirement benefits.

 

As troubling as any hunt for bodies is, the real issue for Japan is the living. Adults relying on their parents' retirement income is just one of many painful social distortions Japan's long economic stagnation has produced. Among the others: a declining marriage rate, an increase in adults living with their parents, and a birth rate so low that many demographers fear it may never recover. These shifts have created a negative, self-perpetuating spiral for the world's third-largest economy. Other developed countries that are struggling to create jobs, like the United States, should take note.

 

The relatives (usually children) of the missing Japanese centenarians located thus far have all been of retirement age, people old enough to be getting their own social security checks. But a growing number of younger Japanese citizens are depending on their retired parents for financial support. On Aug. 12, police arrested a 56-year-old unemployed man in central Mie prefecture on suspicion that he starved his mother to death two years ago and has been living on her pension ever since.

 

/more: http://www.slate.com/id/2263805/

 

A fascinating story - worth a thread of its own perhaps

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