Apart from this distasteful cosmetic subterfuge, under Abe Japan the economic body has been bulking up, sucking in craploads of cash in order to print money in its own version of QE, adding to a public debt bigger than two times national GDP. Abe is behind the push to stimulate the economy, which has stagnated for 20 years due to the country's restrictive immigration policies and regulations; a low birthrate and rapidly rising quotient of retirees means nothing's replenishing the tax base as the country ages.
But Japan's ingrained xenophobic essentialism means it will never open its doors to the thousands of Chinese and Koreans who would otherwise rush in to help support the sagging economy. Instead, Abe - a chest-pounding nationalist who continues to anger China and other victims of Japanese pre-1945 colonial policies - has decided to further burden Japan's yet-to-vote youngsters - those who will have to service the staggering debt in the future - and has thrown caution to the wind. Easier to cripple the economy for a couple of generations than tackle the parochial mums and dads and grandparents who continue to view Japan as a special case, a nation apart. It's all wind; one day its direction will change and it's not hard to predict where the crap will land.