East Asia’s growth has been one of the major global stories of our times, starting with Japan and then led by China, which has become the world’s second biggest economy and is set to overtake the United States later this decade. Although Japan became caught in its ‘lost’ decade and the People’s Republic is currently facing a slow-down in its breakneck expansion (albeit only to a growth rate of 7.8 per cent for 2012), the region is the main hope of making up for the impact of recessionary Europe and a relatively sluggish US. It is busy reshaping itself.
All its three main countries have installed new leaders since December 2012 and all are trying to institute change to build on a major record of success since the 1960s. In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, who won a healthy majority in the upper-house elections on 21 July, is pursuing