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Revenge of success: the longevity creates problems.

These days, in almost all the meetings I attend, the subject is this: why Japan is in such a mess with no political leadership and how we can change the situation. Tonight, I was at a dinner speech by Koichi Hori (former president of BCG Japan, and HBS graduate) and Professor Emeritus M. Yoshino at HBS (Harvard Business School). Once again the subject was "what's wrong with us"!

Frankly speaking, I am getting tired of this subject.

Tonight I concluded as following. This is the revenge of the success achieved in the post-war period Japan. What's the success? Very specifically, the longevity of the Japanese. The average life expectancy of Japanese is about 80. It is now clear to all of us that it does not mean that the longer we live the happier we become, at least not socially and politically. The longevity has created many problems, or should I say "challenges" to be politically correct. The social welfare is the biggest expense item in the government budget. The government is trying to create all kinds of arguments to increase the sales tax to support the current pension system. This system is so favorable for the elderly people. They get much more than they have paid. Our generation? We are supposed to be close to even, but I do not trust that it will be the case. I pay the pension premium not for myself but for my parents. That's how I persuade myself on this subject.

The generation battle is won by the old. More votes by the old than by the young.

The revenge of success will not be over until the top heavy population pyramid will go back to the "normal" pyramid structure. How long will it take? 30 years? 50 years? Only if Japan can continue as is. Maybe the system will break down much earlier than that.

I wish to see how our country will be in future.