New, Green Economy, Or "Debilitating Ripple Effects"

Yomiuri Online/AP: Japan auto sales plunge as young lose interest

You learn something new every day. Apparently, Japan's car industry is now talking about kuruma banare, or "demotorization" as many young Japanese no longer think owning a car is worth the trouble.

"Young people's interest is shifting from cars to communication tools like personal computers, mobile phones and services," said Yoichiro Ichimaru, who oversees domestic sales at Toyota.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association predicts auto sales in Japan will fall to 4.86 million in 2009 - the first time below 5 million in more than three decades. This year [2008], sales are projected at 5.11 million, the worst since 1980.

What this will mean for the economy is anyone's guess: "Manufacturing makes up a fifth of Japan's economy in gross domestic product. But it makes up 90 percent of its exports, and any faltering in that sector would send debilitating ripple effects throughout Japan. And that's likely to further depress auto sales in Japan."

Read the article for an interesting take on the consciousness-shift that is happening in Japan. What the journalist is not asking is if the automobile industry can survive. What will the collapse of auto manufacturing mean for the new, green economy - will the "ripple effects" punish efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and oil consumption as the global recession gets worse? Or will this mark the beginning of a new way of thinking - will we learn how to live without cheap fuel and mass consumption of imported goods, and with less pollution and environmental devastation?


Pandabonium said…
The credit collapse (inevitable in a monetary system that requires perpetual growth) will make big waves rather than ripples. But turbulent times may be needed to allow a new paradigm to take hold. Out with the old, and in with the new - like the new year.
vegetablej said…
Anything that means fewer cars (the polluting kind) on the streets seems like good news to me, BUT Japan has a chance here to produce an economical alternative-energy vehicle that could create big sales worldwide.

The sticking point in the sales of these cars so far is the high price. Japanese have shown they have ingenuity in design when they apply themselves; this could be the motivation they need.

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