Rosanne Costin (From Australia, currently stationed in Tokyo)
If GLOCOM's platform is intended to stimulate debate then this paper should result in a stream of responses, especially from academics in Japan. If I were an academic I would be very quick to point out to Mr Gyohten just how much theoretical support for reform already exists which would immediately show how weak the main premise of this paper is. Even if one were to accept his criticism that academic analysis of reform in Japan is not well developed, Mr. Gyohten himself indicates that there are many examples of other countries undertaking reform and developing the analysis necessary. In this age of globalisation that is discussed in the paper, why does Mr Gyohten think that these examples and the accompanying theory could not apply to Japan? The main point of this paper seems to me to be to blame academics for the lack of reform in Japan thus far and worse still, to suggest that reforms should be delayed (until enough academic theory can sell the idea to the public).
My impression as an outside observer of Japan, is that there is no shortage of theory and advice from academics and economists both within and outside Japan of current problems in Japan and the reforms necessary to address those problems. How much electoral backlash and stagnation of the Japanese economy is needed before those in positions of influence accept responsibility, realise that the Japanese public is not only very conscious of the need for reform but prepared to undergo the pain necessary to fix current problems and start to take decisive action?