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Japan rising?

In the wake of the tsunami, is the country finally emerging from its “lost two decades”?

I was in a four-storey toyshop in one of Tokyo’s main shopping streets for 20 minutes before I realised that there were no children—none. The rows of suited adults and pensioners, manipulating the little scuttling robots, sniffing the key rings that concealed a chamber of lip gloss, fingering the fluorescent pyramids of soft toys were—I hoped—buying a present for a child elsewhere. And alright, it was late afternoon on a Sunday, not in a residential district.

But the ageing of Japan’s society is a visible phenomenon, as well as a living laboratory for the problem that European countries are told…

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