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November 2015
From The Director

Greetings,

Time flies. It’s hard to believe the holidays will soon be upon us, but there’s still a lot of business yet to be conducted in 2015. What a year it’s been, so far. While we have already reported on Japan’s aging population, there’s another side of the story that deserves our attention: the thinning out of the countryside. Rural Japan is losing population at a much faster rate than the country as a whole. Young people leave to work in the cities, babies are not being born and old people are passing on. It’s not a good scenario for the small farming village, fishing port or mountain retreat. What’s it mean to the rest of us? That’s our focus this month.

Speaking of greener pastures, what are your plans for life after work? It’s never too early to start planning for the future. Our objective is to help you get the best results possible. Please feel free to contact your financial advisor at any time. If you do not currently have an advisor at Select, please reply to this email and one of our senior consultants will contact you promptly.

Best Regards,

Imants Katlaps

Managing Director

Article

BUILDING A RURAL ROUTE TO NOWHERE

It’s the middle of the afternoon in a small mountain village in Nagano Prefecture in the middle north section of Japan main island of Honshu, and it’s mostly quiet. There are some indications of the wider world outside—electricity poles, cars in driveways, some garishly colored vending machines—but there’s not a soul in site.

Recently, raising quiet a racket, a nine-man crew, working on and off for the past few weeks, has just finished resurfacing the main road through the village, but the road is hardly used. Except for the regular but brief rushes of traffic at lunchtime, early mornings and evenings, a vehicle passes by only once every 5 or 10 minutes. More often it’s less often, especially at night. Another brand new road that winds its way up to the next village is travelled even less. The local bus comes by twice a day to pick up and drop off five children. Few other people are ever seen on board.

The name of the village is unimportant and it may change before you read this. For the past decade Japan has been systematically re-zoning and combining fading rural towns and villages into new “cities” that are usually located somewhere in the vicinity of a bullet train station that has rail links to Tokyo, Osaka or some other crowded urban center.  So the people may be gone, by commerce carries on...

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