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2014年1月14日 (火)

成人の日 堅実さと柔軟な発想求めたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 14, 2014
New adults should combine realism with flexibility and entrepreneurship
成人の日 堅実さと柔軟な発想求めたい(1月13日付・読売社説)

Today is Coming-of-Age Day. We would like to celebrate the birth of 1.21 million new adults in Japan.

We hope they will step forward strongly with keen awareness as adults.

They were born in 1993, when the Liberal Democratic Party-led government, which had held power since the merger of conservative parties in 1955, was replaced with a coalition government of non-LDP parties. Crown Prince and Princess Masako also married that year.

The years in which these young people grew up almost overlap the “two lost decades” when the Japanese economy faltered after the collapse of the asset-inflated bubble economy. There are concerns about a decline in their academic abilities because they received “cram-free education” from primary school to high school.

They are also a generation that mastered the skills needed in the age of information technology when they were still small, as the Internet and mobile phones have been available as long as they can remember.

Seiko Holdings Corp., which has conducted questionnaire surveys among new adults every year, says this year’s new adults tend to pursue a down-to-earth lifestyle.

Asked what they place importance on, the largest number replied money. The largest number also said they want to spend more time studying. Of course, it is important to be down-to-earth like them, but we also hope they will have flexible mindsets and embrace challenges.

Young entrepreneurs needed

Aya Ozeki, now 21, used ¥300,000 that she saved to start a business to establish a fashion company in Tokyo when she was still in her second year of high school.

“I wanted to start a business when I could still capitalize on my youthful sensitivities,” she said.

Ozeki had a huge hit with her invention of a women’s necktie for businesswomen working actively in society, which nobody had conceived. She also developed a unique leather tie for men that is very easy to put on.

The government is developing a system to help young people start companies through subsidies and other means. We hope many young entrepreneurs like Ozeki will emerge from among the new adults.

Japanese companies are facing fiercer-than-ever competition with both domestic and foreign rivals. If they are company employees, the new adults should clearly express their own ideas with the strong spirit to lead their companies.

Whether they are members of the working world or still students, we hope they will set a rock-steady goal and improve themselves toward achieving it.

By the time the new adults are 50, Japan is predicted to have transformed into a “piggyback” type of society, which means one working person will support one elderly person in a country with more elderly people and fewer children.

However, it is the power of young people that will overcome the raging waves of the times, build a wealthy Japan and sustain the country’s future.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 13, 2014)
(2014年1月13日01時31分  読売新聞)


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