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Even as a wave of right-wing populism is sweeping Europe, the United States, India and parts of Southeast Asia, Japan has so far appeared to be immune.Perhaps the closest Japan has come was the former mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, who first made his name as a television personality and then disgraced himself in recent years by commending the use of wartime sex slaves by the Imperial Japanese Army. Therein lies one explanation for the apparent lack of right-wing populism in Japan.Postwar Japanese democracy was influenced in the 1950 and 1960s by an intellectual elite that consciously sought to distance Japan from its wartime nationalism. Japan has surpassed the U.S. as a country of the middle class.In a society where human worth is measured by individual success, symbolized by celebrity and money, it is easy to feel humiliated by a relative lack of it, of being just another face in the crowd.
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