Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Internet Cafe Refugees in Japan

I believe that the seed of communism was planted in the field of capitalism. With the advent of communism, in came few terms in our vocabulary and we were so used to them. Words like neo-rich, reactionary, proletariat, bourgeoise were circulated in 50s and 60s and gained momentum in 70s of last century. However gone are the days of Soviet Union, China; the communist citadel, Cuba and North Korea are in doldrums, it appears that socialistic (!) capitalism is the new mantra for survival in the era of globalization. Here again Russia, China, Brazil, India have taken the leads, former two are from communist bloc with capitalist outlook. Those of us born after World War II, have witnessed the rise and fall of communism are confused lots. We sometime fail to differentiate communism from capitalism. The former open offers the scopes to get rich, the later offers the same only to few, the party strongmen or henchmen.
However after Second World War the countries like West German and Japan far excelled many other countries in their socioeconomic progress holding the hands of capitalist USA. There is no debate on that. With US economy Japan`s economy rose to its zenith during the later part of last century. Among Fareast Asian countries Japan managed to set an example in technological advancement. The far sight, enterprising industrial ventures in all most all the fields made it outstanding. You know, the quartz watch what we cannot stay without; was invented in Switzerland, the land of watches in late 70s. When the inventor presented its stuff to Swiss watch makers, they refused to buzz. The quartz technology would have replaced the then existing watch technology. That needed the use of jewels, wheels, spring et al; so they refused to take up the new technology. In the same meeting, was a man from Japan`s Seiko (watch maker) company, who grabbed the opportunity and rest is the story. This is an example of Japs enterprising ability.
However, the recent reports suggest there is shift in Japanese outlook too. With the global economy is passing through a phase of recession their economy is under pressure too. The pressure is so high, that a new class is emerging in Japan. As the neo-rich , as a class rose after the Wars, thus after the prosperous phase of Japanese economy; neo-pauper as class is emerging. Surprised? The new generation of Japanese work force, in Tokyo, looks for a place for the night a cubicle featuring a computer to surf the internet plus a reclining chair to sleep in. Though there is bare enough room to stretch one`s legs. Paying only 1500Yen (US$13) a night in high-cost Tokyo and shower facilities thrown in, what better else you can expect? For thousands of Japanese, young and old, such cubicles are “home”. They are called “netto kafe nanmin” or internet café refugees in English. Half of these people from the age group of 20s and the rest are from the age group of 50s; with no permanent job, cannot afford to rent rooms in costly Tokyo. Being away from home, most of them make internet café their home; with hope to get back their home what they never do. So; what next; again a tilt towards communism?

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