Japanese sociologist and Tokyo Metropolitan University professor, Shinji Miyadai argues that European nations progressed from the communal self-governance of food to the communal self-governance of energy after World War II. Miyadai compares Europe’s post-war developments with those of post-war Japan in his article entitled ‘Pitfalls of the Nuclear Power Reduction Movement’. His contention is simple: As opposed to Europe, Japan had actually “accelerated its dependence on the market through trade liberalization and deregulation…”
Post-war economic indenture was exactly what the United States wanted from Japan. Moreover, the US was able to procure Japanese market dependence through discussions on the trade liberalization of agricultural goods (and later, the US-Japan Structural Impediments Initiative talks). Miyadai claims that the hollowing effects of these US-sponsored neoliberal adjustments would exact their toll on Japanese communities in the 1980s and 1990s.
Neoliberalism’s averse effects climaxed when the 1997 recession – induced by the Asian currency crisis – washed over Japan. Miyadai recalls the serious outcomes of a barely functioning Japanese economy, which then finally ceased to function. Among the consequences were: Japan’s heightened rate of suicide (four times that of the UK and twice that of the US); the scandal of the missing or long-dead elderly; ubiquitous infant and child abuse or neglect; and a third of Japan’s dead, cremated without funeral.
Indeed, as Miyadai laments, “Well before the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japanese society had already begun to disintegrate.”