Not the Time To Open a Japanese Toy Store

Demography is Destiny and Japan is going to pretty much disappear if trends don’t change:

The number of children has declined for 27 consecutive years, a government report said over the weekend. Japan now has fewer children who are 14 or younger than at any time since 1908.

The proportion of children in the population fell to an all-time low of 13.5 percent. That number has been falling for 34 straight years and is the lowest among 31 major countries, according to the report. In the United States, children account for about 20 percent of the population.

Which pretty much means that Japan has decided no longer to exist:

Population shrinkage began three years ago and is gathering pace. Within 50 years, the population, now 127 million, will fall by a third, the government projects. Within a century, two-thirds of the population will be gone.

Remember when the country we feared taking over everything was Japan?  It wasn’t that long ago.  Everybody figured that we would all end up working for the Japanese, drive only Japanese cars, and they would own all the real estate in the US.  If you haven’t read the novel Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984) I’d highly recommend it, but the whole premise of the novel is that Japan won the corporate wars.  (Just as an aside, this is a wonderful science fiction novel credited with creating the whole cyberpunk genre so its definitely worth the time to read).

Instead Japan has pretty much decided that it won’t exist any more.  Do you think China is going to sit around and let all that nice Island real-estate just sit idle?

Facial Recognition Vending Machines Debut in Japan

And in an ironic twist, Keith Richards tested the machine and was determined to be 361 years old (joke people).

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A cigarette vending machine that can tell adults from minors by determining their approximate ages based on bone structure, wrinkles and the way their skin sags went on sale Monday.
People wishing to buy cigarettes have to look at a facial recognition camera in the upper section of the machine and press a button. In about three seconds, the machine determines whether the person is 20 years old–the legal age to buy cigarettes–or above. The purchase will be allowed if the machine is satisfied.
When it is difficult to determine whether people around the age of 20 are adults, they must insert a driver’s license into a reader to make a purchase. They will not be able to buy cigarettes based purely on facial recognition.
Meanwhile, in another attempt to prevent minors from smoking, the Tobacco Institute of Japan plans to issue vending machine cards restricted to adults.

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Japenese “poodle” owners find out they are really sheep!

I’m not sure that this is just a scam, but just how long would it take you to realize that your “dog” didn’t bark?

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Thousands of people have been ‘fleeced’ into buying neatly coiffured lambs they thought were poodles.

Entire flocks of lambs were shipped over from the UK and Australia to Japan by an internet company and marketed as the latest ‘must have’ accessory.

But the scam was only spotted after a leading Japanese actress said her ‘poodle’ didn’t bark and refused to eat dog food.

Maiko Kawakami, who starred in the Japanese thriller Violent Cop, showed photographs of her pet on a television talk show only to be told it wasn’t a dog – but was in fact a lamb.

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