日本温泉小镇带给中国什么样的警示?_OK阅读网
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日本温泉小镇带给中国什么样的警示?
A cautionary tale from an ageing Japan for China

来源:FT中文网    2018-02-06 07:10



        Echigo Yuzawa seems to have everything going for it. Just one hour and 15 minutes from Tokyo by bullet train, the charming mountain town is famed for its onsen — or hot springs — excellent skiing and as the home of Japan’s best rice and sake.        越后汤泽(Echigoyuzawa)似乎很完美。从东京乘高速列车前往越后汤泽只需1小时15分,这座迷人的山城以温泉、理想的滑雪场以及日本最上乘的大米和米酒而闻名。
        It even acquired an aura of literary sophistication and glamour when Yasunari Kawabata became the first Japanese author to win a Nobel Prize for his 1968 novel Snow Country. Set in early 20th-century Echigo Yuzawa, it tells the story of a minor Tokyo aristocrat’s love affair with a small-town geisha.        川端康成(Yasunari Kawabata)以其1968年出版的小说《雪国》(Snow Country)荣膺诺贝尔文学奖,成为第一位获此殊荣的日本作家后,越后汤泽甚至染上了一种文学的况味和魅力。《雪国》以20世纪初的越后汤泽为背景,讲述了东京一位小贵族与当地一名艺妓的爱情故事。
        Today, the town epitomises the key challenge facing Japan’s rural economy: adverse demographics. As such it is a story whose relevance reaches well beyond the world’s third-biggest economy to countries facing similar developments.        今天,这座小镇如同一个缩影,体现了日本乡村经济面临的主要挑战:糟糕的人口结构。因此,越后汤泽的故事不只关乎世界第三大经济体,它对面临类似人口发展趋势的其他国家也具有启示意义。
        In Echigo Yuzawa it begins in the town centre where many of the shopfronts are boarded up and most restaurants only open at the weekend in winter when skiers make the day trip from Tokyo.        在越后汤泽,从镇中心开始就有很多店铺歇业,大部分餐馆仅在冬季的周末营业,接待从东京来此短途旅行的滑雪者。
        Prices for condominiums in the surrounding valley have fallen by more than 95 per cent since the height of the bubble era in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I bought one for less than the price of a second-hand car a decade ago thinking I had made a great investment. Today some of my neighbours are paying people to take them off their hands.        相较上世纪80年代末90年代初的泡沫时代高峰期,附近山谷公寓的房价跌幅超过了95%。10年前,我用不到一辆二手车的价钱买下了一套公寓,还以为是笔不错的投资。如今,我的一些邻居已经开始倒贴钱将他们的房产出手。
        To visit the resort hotels and condo complexes dotted throughout town is to step into a world frozen in 1989, complete with faux fondue restaurants and fluorescent fashion statements.        若要参观遍布全镇的度假酒店和公寓区,就意味着要踏入一个在1989年被封冻的世界,到处都是不正宗的干酪火锅餐厅和光怪陆离的时尚标语。
        Estate agents estimate 75 per cent of apartments in the area are vacant. The sheer scale of the housing and construction bubble that reached its zenith nearly 30 years ago means property prices may never recover here or in other parts of rural Japan. Demand is draining away even without the oversupply as the population ages and people move into the cities.        据地产经纪们估计,这里有75%的公寓都是闲置的。近30年前达到顶峰的那轮住房和建筑泡沫的规模之大,意味着此地以及日本乡村其他地方的房价可能永远都不会回升了。随着人口老龄化和向城市迁移,即使当初并没有供过于求,需求量也在减少。
        Japan’s population shrank by 403,000 in 2017 and on current trends it will drop from 126.5m to 51m by 2115. More than a fifth of Japan’s land, an area the size of Denmark, has no readily contactable owner.        2017年,日本人口减少了40.3万,按照目前的趋势,到2115年,日本人口将从1.265亿下降到5100万。日本超过五分之一的土地——面积相当于一个丹麦——将成为无主之地。
        The aftermath of the bubble and the shrinking population have caused decades of stagnation. Japan’s gross domestic product growth rate has bumped along between zero and 2 per cent for most of the past 30 years as successive governments struggled to pull the economy out of deflation.        泡沫的后果和人口的减少造成了几十年的停滞。过去30年来的大部分时间,日本国内生产总值的增速都徘徊在0%至2%之间,历届日本政府都努力要把经济从通缩的窘境中拉出来。
        An obvious solution would be to encourage more immigration and make it easier for foreigners to snap up the empty flats and start businesses in towns like Echigo Yuzawa. Many wealthy western societies are also ageing rapidly but have dealt with this by allowing large-scale immigration. But Japan has never wavered in its opposition to foreign infiltration and that is unlikely to change soon.        一个明显的解决办法是鼓励更多的移民进入,并使外国人能更容易地购买空置的公寓,以及在越后汤泽这样的城镇营生。许多富裕的西方社会也在迅速老龄化,但已经开始利用大规模的移民来应对这一问题。但日本一直坚定不移地反对外来移民,而且这种态度不太可能很快转变。
        Japan’s challenges provide a cautionary tale for other Asian economies, most importantly China. Last year, 17.23m babies were born in China, a drop of 630,000 from a year earlier despite Beijing scrapping its decades-old “one-child policy” in late 2015. The working age population increased by around 380m between 1980 and 2012, and this is probably the single biggest factor behind China’s incredible economic expansion of the past few decades.        日本面临的挑战对其它亚洲经济体很有警示意义,尤其是中国。去年,中国迎来了1723万新生儿,较前一年下降了63万,尽管中国政府在2015年末废除了几十年来一直推行的“独生子女政策”。1980年至2012年间,中国的劳动适龄人口增加了约3.8亿,这可能是过去几十年中国经济得以惊人扩张的最大单一因素。
        While the country’s overall population is growing slowly, the number of workers has been shrinking since 2012. Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimate that by 2050 it will drop by 212m — about one-third of the current total. That is the size of the population of Brazil, the world’s fifth most populous nation.        在全国人口增长缓慢的同时,自2012年以来,中国劳动人口一直在减少。美银美林(Bank of America Merrill Lynch)的分析师们预测,到2050年,中国劳动人口将减少2.12亿——约为目前总数的三分之一。而这一数字相当于世界第五人口大国巴西的人口总量。
        This demographic decline will come in the wake of a housing and construction boom that puts Japan’s bubble era to shame. In just five years from 2012 until 2016, China produced nearly three times as much cement as the US did in the entire 20th century.        中国的人口下降将发生在住房和建筑热潮之后,这波热潮让日本的泡沫经济时代都相形见绌。从2012年到2016的短短5年间,中国的水泥产量几近于美国20世纪水泥总产量的三倍。
        Much of that went into building apartment blocks in rural towns where land and property prices have been inflated by local governments that relied on land sales for much of their fiscal spending.        这其中很大一部分被用于在小城镇兴建住房,当地政府依靠出售土地来支撑其大部分财政支出,从而推高了土地和住宅价格。
        When you consider that most of the Chinese construction boom of the past decade was paid for with credit and that land valued at inflated prices makes up most of the collateral for those loans, then the foundations of China’s entire financial system start to look shaky.        如果考虑到过去10年中国建设热潮的大部分资金来源于信贷,而这些贷款的大部分抵押品都是以虚高价格估值的房地产,那么中国整个金融体系的基础就显得不太稳固了。
        Today you can get on a sleek bullet train in Beijing and ride across the country and all you will see outside your window for most of the trip are half-built or empty apartment blocks. In a couple of decades those buildings may well serve as monuments to China’s bubble era and demographic decline just as the spooky hotels and condos of Echigo Yuzawa now testify to Japan’s.        今天,你可以从北京搭乘高铁穿越全中国,途中透过车窗看到的多半景色都是些没完工或空置的住宅楼。数十年后,这些建筑很可能成为中国泡沫时代及人口下降的遗迹,就像越后汤泽的幽灵旅馆和公寓现在印证着日本当初的泡沫时代一样。
        jamil.anderlini@ft.com        译者/偲言
                
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