The End of an Era

Dec 2011
1,296
#1
Today, the Japanese Emperor, Akihito, held a speech looking back on 30 years of his reign. As some of you might have heard, Emperor Akihito will abdicate on April 30th, an unprecedented occurrence in modern Japan. In his speech, he mentions how the last 30 years were an era blessed by the absence of war and yet, Japanese society faced and will continue to face major problems such as global warming, more frequently occurring natural disasters, declining birth rates, and an aging population. Furthermore, he states that Japan has opened itself to the world, wisely and in its own unique way, and that she is attempting to forge relationships to other countries with sincerity.

The Emperor's abdication will mark the end of an era, the first "post-postwar" era. The current era began with the passing away of Emperor Akihito's father, the Showa Emperor, in 1989. But, it was also a time that marked the end of the "first" postwar era with the end of the Cold War, the foundation of the EU, the rise of the Asian Tigers, and in Japan itself, the end of the postwar socio-economic system marked by the bursting of the infamous "bubble economy" plunging the country into a period that has been described as "Two-and-a-half Lost Decades".

Ever since I became self-aware, it was the Heisei-Period, but very soon, it won't be any longer. It is the end of an era, an end that has been on the global and Japanese horizon, politically and economically, for some time now, but also for me personally. Let's wish the Empress and Emperor a fulfilled retirement life and greet the new era with enthusiasm.
 

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