10 Predictions for Japan 2008

Happy New Year everybody! And what a great start… I won the Nenmatsu Jumbo lottery! Actually, that’s a bald-faced lie, but I did win $25 from Jason in his post, Time to Give Away Some Cash. Whoo-hoo! :-D

10 Predictions for 2008 in Japan

Back in December, after watching how easily Brazilian “Psychic” Jucelino Nobrega da Luz convinced Japanese TV audiences of his mystical powers, I thought I’d try my own hand at reading the future. Here are my own predictions for 2008. Hopefully I can refer back to this list during the year and claim to be a psychic myself!

Another new prime minister?1. A new Japanese Prime Minister

Looking into my crystal ball, I see that Japan will once again have a new prime minister during 2008. My psychic skills won’t tell me who or when, but I’m confident we will have a new “leader” before the year is out.

iPhone to flop in Japan?2. iPhone flops in Japan

There will be huge publicity over the launch of the iPhone, but it will come too late. By the time it’s released, competing phone makers will be offering the same multi-touch technology in their own handsets, and Apple’s failure to get the market share it was looking for will be blamed on a “lack of understanding of Japanese culture”.

Arakawa wins gold3. Japanese athlete wins Olympic gold

Much like when Arakawa Shizuka won Olympic gold in figure skating, this year’s summer Olympics in China will produce a single gold medal winner for Japan. Like the former ice skater, praise will be heaped upon the Olympic champion, hiding the fact that Japan failed to bring home more than one gold medal.

Cute Japanese robot4. Aibo-style robot boom begins

2008 will be the year that artificially intelligent robots are on every child’s Christmas list. It might be an add-on for the Nintendo Wii, or a standalone robot programmable through cell phones, I can’t say, but I do know it will be very “cute”.

Global warming5. Japan has the hottest summer on record

It’s almost inevitable that we will once again have a very hot summer, with a record number of days over 40 degrees celsius. This will be accompanied by numerous water-related tragedies and the deaths of uninformed elderly folk who believe air conditioners are bad for your health.

Nikuman6. Food scandals continue in 2008

Like last year, both domestic and imported food will be exposed as poisoned, expired, or made of cardboard. The population will abandon certain foods or brands, switching to other equally-guilty-but-not-yet-exposed products.

Earthquake7. Over a dozen killed in Japanese earthquake

It won’t be the big one we’re all waiting for, but Japan will still suffer another fatal earthquake. In this annual event, a dozen people will be killed when their wooden houses, built on the side of mountains, are flattened by resulting landslides.

Nova died in 20078. Large, scandal-ridden company makes headlines

With Nova last year, and Livedoor in 2006, my crystal ball shows another big name company suffering a similar fate in 2008. The president will be publicly humiliated for at least a month before the general public forgets the whole thing ever happened.

Foreign crime magazine9. Foreign crime on the rise again

You don’t really have to be a psychic to see another round of foreigner-bashing this year. With crime statistics published annually, it’s inevitable that the media will spend a disproprtionate amount of time blaming foreigners for the nation’s growing crime problem. Personally, I blame this guy.

More taxes10. Higher taxes and higher prices

Well, you can’t really expect things to get cheaper, can you? Following on the trend from 2007, I can see taxes rising to counter the hugely exaggerated terrorist threat, the need to clean the air, the looming pension problems, and to cover NHK’s losses when people don’t pay their licence fees! Furthermore, oil prices and subprime loans will be blamed for further increases in the price of cheese.

Well, there you have it. Ten predictions for 2008. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

12 comments

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  2. ジェイソン (Jason)

    Last I heard, not too many people took that psychic seriously on TV. There were lots of skits on TV the last two days making fun of the whole thing. Nobody made your predictions, though … but, aside from the quake, I think they’re all pretty accurate.

    It’s a shame the Japanese government can’t be a little more stable and pick a leader that can remain in power longer than 10 months, though … aside from Koizumi, has anyone in the last 20 years served more than a single year? :???:

    • Nick Ramsay

      I hope I’m wrong about the earthquake, but this page has some interesting earthquake numbers, which I’ve summarized here:

      2007 – 14 dead in Niigata earthquake
      2005 – 1 dead, 1087 injured in Fukuoka earthquake
      2004 – 68 dead in Niigata earthquake
      2003 – 1 dead, 849 injured in Hokkaido earthquake
      2001 – 2 dead, 288 injured in Hiroshima earthquake

      and of course:

      1995 – 6,434 dead in Kobe earthquake

      As for the prime ministers, here are some “longer-lasting” recent ones:

      2001-2006 Koizumi (3 terms)
      1998-2000 Obuchi
      1996-1998 Hashimoto
      1991-1993 Miyazawa
      1989-1991 Kaifu
      1987-1989 Takeshita
      1982-1987 Nakasone (3 terms)

      Note that since 1982, only Nakasone and Koizumi lasted more than 2 years! I count 13 prime ministers in the last 20 years (1987~). :shock:

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  4. Keith

    The price of cheese to go up even more!!! I was shocked to see that the little blue string cheese is now around 158 yen and used to be 95 yen a week ago!!
    Happy New Year Nick and Mami and of course Rikuto!! Have not been home yet and just got back from 7 days of surfing, drinking and relaxing aaaaah I so much want to go back!!!

    Cheers Keith

  5. Ken Y-N

    I think you’re shooting a lot of fish in barrels here!

    1. A new Japanese Prime Minister

    I’d be more impressed if you said there wasn’t going to be one!

    2. iPhone flops in Japan

    Multi-touch will not be offered by anyone else in the time-frame given. It will be a moderate success, but the input method, the lack of emoji, and the general disinterest in smartphones/PDAs will mean it won’t hit the mainstream like in the US and to some extent Europe.

    3. Japanese athlete wins Olympic gold

    You’re way off here – there will be a good number of judo golds. There may be just one track and field win, with woman’s marathon looking like the best bet, and I think perhaps in swimming too?

    4. Aibo-style robot boom begins

    No.

    5. Japan has the hottest summer on record

    Yes.

    6. Food scandals continue in 2008

    Yes, of course. I also predict there will be no scandal about mercury and other heavy metals in whale or tuna.

    7. Over a dozen killed in Japanese earthquake

    This is pretty much a given, I’m afraid.

    8. Large, scandal-ridden company makes headlines

    And the Emporer is still a Shintoist and Hokkaido bears still using forest-based toilet facilities.

    9. Foreign crime on the rise again

    We didn’t get any fanfare this year, which suggests there was a statistical drop.

    10. Higher taxes and higher prices

    Most wheat-based staples are of course due to go up in price in January or February, but I’m not sure about tax rises.

    • Nick Ramsay

      Thanks Ken, but I’m going to stand by my “predictions” (although you’ve got me with the multi-touch technology time frame).

      As for the Olympics, this article paints a pretty grim picture of Japan’s medal hopes:

      In November, the Japanese Olympic Committee released its latest outlook report pointing out that the country’s athletes were capable of winning just five gold medals in Beijing compared with the 16 they collected in Athens in 2004.

      It will be interesting to see if I’m right about the robots. These things tend to happen overnight, so it’s hard to write off as a definite no, particularly when the definition of an artificially intelligent robot is so vague.

  6. Mike

    Come on Nick – you have to guess WHICH big company gets into scandal! My money is on AU – there’s no way they can afford to charge that little. My prediction: They steal people’s souls.