I must be going soft...I am giving a thumbs up to a second article in two days.
Actually, I owe Paul Wiseman one--I was way too cranky about one of his recent articles.
This one is a keeper.
Income inequality shrinks Japan's middle class
By Paul Wiseman and Naoko Nishiwaki, TOKYO — Since he dropped out of college a few years ago, Takeshi Ito has bounced from job to job — washing dishes, waiting tables, selling mobile phones.
These days, he works for a temp agency, laboriously typing data into computers. Ito, 29, lives with his parents, trying to save enough money to marry his girlfriend, a kindergarten teacher.
"I can't be picky" about jobs, he says. "My choices are limited. ... I'd like to be independent, but realistically, I can't."
He speaks wistfully of a friend who finished college and landed on the fast track at an advertising agency. "He got a 1 million yen ($8,600) bonus," Ito says. "And he recently became an executive. I wish I could do such a thing."
Ito and his yuppie friend have found themselves on opposite sides of a widening gap: the one that separates Japan's economic winners from its losers.
Click through and listen to all the voices!
Seven individuals: five Japanese, one American, one European.
A politician, 4 economists (from a bank, the OECD, academia and an independent research institute), a linguist and an unfortunate, to put it all in context.
Numbers, numbers, numbers, everywhere!
And with a coda that does not feel forced.
Calloo, callay, I chortle.