Japanese Economy Remains Weak
Japan is struggling with its economy as the country hosts the yearly meeting of the G-7 industrialized nations.
Japan has the world's third-largest economy, behind the U.S. and China. Many countries copied Japan when it had a strong and growing economy.
Japan has been dealing with deflation for many years. Deflation is "a decrease in the amount of available money or credit in an economy that causes prices to go down." Deflation can often cause a recession.
The population in Japan is growing older and the country is not diverse. Most people in the country are ethnic Japanese. Last year, people in Japan criticized Miss Japan, Ariana Miyamoto, for not being "Japanese enough." She has a Japanese mother and a black American father.
Many Japanese also do not support mass immigration, which other countries have used to make up for, or balance, the effects of a declining and aging population.
Savings vs. spending
Takuji Okubo is the managing director of Japan Macro Advisors. He says Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe does not understand problems in the labor market or with pensions. He says the prime minister "has been just unable to tackle any reforms."
Many of Japan's public pension plans do not have enough money to make payments. This has caused many families to believe the plans will fail, so they save a lot of money.
The average Japanese family has about $164,000 in savings. That is much higher than that of families in other developed countries.
Young Japanese working in their first jobs do not earn a lot of money, so they do not have much to spend. And people who are retired and have savings are worried about their monthly payments, so they are not spending money either.
Manabu Goto operates a small, 50-year-old food store in Tokyo.
Goto has opened the store on weekends and added more products. He wants to attract more customers and convince them to spend more money.
However, he says the policies of the prime minister have "failed to get citizens to spend because people are uncertain about the future. So the government needs to try something else."
Structural changes are needed
Martin Schulz is a senior economist at the Fujitsu Research Institute. He says the Japanese "market is shrinking overall. It makes it very difficult to get it moving again. This requires some major structural changes and these take time."
Among the needed changes, he says, are: to open the economy, to change the structure of the farming industry and to help Japanese companies invest in Southeast Asia. He says these changes will help the Japanese economy improve over a 10 to 15-year period.
William Saito is an advisor for the Japanese Cabinet. He says "it's just confidence. If you look at the last 20 years -- the economic fundamentals, the infrastructure, government politics -- these things haven't actually changed."
Shin Fukushige is a managing director for the technology company Seikoware. He says, "there has been a huge improvement in psychology" in the past ten years. But it is difficult for many Japanese who begin new businesses to convince workers to join their companies."
Many of Japan's large companies were created many years ago. But many large and successful companies in the United States were created in the past 20 or 30 years, including Apple and Google. This has helped the American economy grow.
Experts are asking how to help Japan's old and slow-moving economy grow. Some of them believe actions have already been taken that will show results in the years ahead.
What to watch for
After the G-7 meeting this week, many people will closely watch the actions of the Bank of Japan. The bank's leaders want people to wait a few more months for recent government measures to take effect. If these measures are not successful, the bank could take strong action. Some experts hope the bank will place fees on savings and force companies to sharply increase wages.
However, the other G-7 nations do not want Japan's government to lower the value of its currency -- the yen. That would make the country's exported products less costly and could hurt the economies of other countries.
I'm Mario Ritter.
1.available money 闲置资金
All the available money has been used.
2.go down 下降
He's not going to let it go down the drain now.
3.make up 弥补；编造
Her beauty can't make up for her stupidity.
4.labor market 劳动力市场
However, the labor market for the domestic manufacturing industry will obviously decline.
1.Japan has been dealing with deflation for many years.
dealing with 处理；对待
He was criticized for his delay in dealing with the matter.
All our tough talk about dealing with the union came to naught.
2.After the G-7 meeting this week, many people will closely watch the actions of the Bank of Japan.
closely watch 密切关注
China will closely watch the developments and reserves the right to make further response.
You will always want to closely watch your baby when in the care of a nanny.
日本是继美国和中国之后的全球第三大经济体 。日本经济的迅猛增长引多国争相效仿 。
多年来，日本一直面临通货紧缩的问题 。通货紧缩是指经济体中的可用资金或信贷量下降导致价格下跌 。通货紧缩往往会导致经济衰退 。
日本人口老龄化趋势明显且国土面积有限 。日本多数人口为本土居民 。去年，日本人指责日本小姐阿丽亚娜·宫本（Ariana Miyamoto）不是纯正日本人血统 。她母亲是日本人，父亲是美国黑人 。
日本宏观顾问公司总经理大久保卓治（Takuji Okubo）表示，日本首相安倍晋三并不了解劳动力市场和养老金问题 。他说，“安倍晋三没有进行过任何改革 。”
多数日本公共养老金计划没有充足资金来发放养老金 。因此，很多家庭认为养老金计划最终会失败，他们将闲置资金储存起来 。
日本平均每户居民的存款约16.4万美元 。远远高于其它发达国家的居民储蓄 。
一般来说，日本年轻人的第一份工作薪水不高，所以他们没有太多消费能力 。而退休有存款的老年人又担心每月的养老金，所以他们也很少花钱 。
后藤学(Manabu Goto) 在东京经营一家有着50年历史的小食品店 。
后藤学决定周末也继续营业，还添置了大量新商品 。他希望借此吸引更多客户并鼓励他们多消费 。
但他表示，“人民对未来顾虑重重，因此安倍晋三的政策未能拉动国民消费水平 。政府需要变更政策 。”
马丁·舒尔茨（Martin Schulz）是富士通研究所的高级经济学家 。他表示，“日本市场整体出现萎缩，这一态势很难扭转 。市场急需进行重大变革，这也会耗费很长时间 。”
他说，改革包括开放经济、改变养殖业结构并帮助日本公司在东南亚投资 。他还说这些改革能帮助日本经济在10到15年的周期内得到提升 。
威廉·斋藤（William Saito）是日本内阁顾问 。他说，“这只是信心问题 。如果回顾过去20年的经济基本面、基础设施和政府政治等，其实这些东西并未真正改变 。”
Seikoware科技公司总经理申福冈(Shin Kufushige)表示，过去十年我们在心理上取得了巨大进步，但对很多拓展新业务的日本企业来说，说服员工加入公司并不容易 。
日本的很多大企业都是很久之前创办的 。但是美国多数大型企业都创办于20或30年前，包括谷歌公司和苹果公司 。而这有助于美国的经济增长 。
专家一直在寻求帮助日本陈腐而又发展缓慢的经济取得增长的途径 。有人认为现已采取的措施会在未来显现效果 。
本周的七国集团会议之后，很多人将会密切关注日本央行的行动 。日本央行行长希望人们静待数月，观察政府一系列措施的效果 。如果这些措施失败，日本央行可能会进一步采取有力措施 。一些专家希望日本央行收存款费用，迫使企业大幅提高工资待遇 。
然而，七国集团的其它国家不希望日本政府放任日元贬值 。因为这会导致日本出口产品的成本更低，并会损害其它国家的经济 。