Just before Christmas there was a lot of public concern about America’s declining birthrate, which closed out 2012 at its lowest point since 1920. But in trying to understand why American fertility is on the wane, it’s important to understand that fertility decline is a global phenomenon. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s population lives in countries with declining fertility rates. And as bad as America has it now, things could be worse. We could be Japan.
Sometimes an uninhabited island chain is just an uninhabited island chain. But that’s never the case in East Asia, where territorial disputes often involve fishing rights, energy supplies, and, perhaps most importantly, the re-litigation of historical grievances.
Though every generation dutifully brings forth its crop of visual artists, some harvests are more blessed and bounteous than others. And while few have been as sparse as those of recent date, we can all take some consolation in the Whitney’s retrospective of Yayoi Kusama. Any age that engendered her cannot be all bad.
Ron Paul’s aversion to monetary expansion in the middle of an economic crisis is a fringe libertarian idea—and also widely held in America’s political mainstream, including by some Fed officials. This wave of thinking seems to foreshadow a worrisome trend: the ongoing Japanization of the West.
After Japan’s tsunami a year ago, about 20,000 people either drowned or were lost along the country’s northeastern coast. The same tidal wave overwhelmed nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. But no ill-health effects from radiation have been reported to date.
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper is reporting that the Japanese government is close to settling on the F-35 Lightning as the much-needed replacement for its F-15 fighter. That’s exceptionally good news for a program that’s both key to preserving American military preeminence and at a lot of risk due to prospective deep defense budget cuts. Indeed, Japan’s decision may actually complicate the Pentagon’s challenges in meeting the targets laid out by the Budget Control Act, Obama administration po
In Western Europe, Fukushima’s power reactor disaster has produced a loud round of anti-nuclear power reactions. Germany says it will phase out atomic power by 2022, and the Swiss insist they will shutter their reactor fleet by 2034.
Japanese authorities on Tuesday raised the severity rating of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to the highest level on an international scale, on a par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.