If you could only visit one country before you die, we would recommend you visit Japan.
That’s because Japan is not a regular country; it is another planet. It’s an amazing place that defies conventional thinking.
Understanding Planet Japan can take a lifetime, and even then, it’s unlikely that a Western mind can actually fully comprehend it.
For example, one critical element to understand is the military term “Die in Place.” Simply put, when a soldier is given the "Die in Place" order, there can be NO withdrawal or retreat. The position MUST be held until all enemies are destroyed, or until the soldier himself is dead.
Japan is “Die in Place” on the national scale.
During the WWII, they knew the war was lost, and they knew the nuclear bombs were coming, but they still chose to fight until the very end.
Fast-forward to today, and Japan is living with a debt level that’s a whopping 250% of GDP… and spending a quarter of its tax revenue just to pay the interest. Any other country would have long ago collapsed under the weight of that burden. But Japan persists.
This is obviously an unsustainable situation, but somehow, they manage to sustain it.
Add to that its fast aging population, an abysmally low birth rate, and an anti-immigration stance — and you have a country where there aren’t enough younger workers to replace the older generations in the workforce. Hence also Japan’s obsession with AI/robots…
It would be foolish to pretend this situation will not reach a breaking point. But we are not there yet.
On the bright side, there are plenty of interesting investment opportunities in Japan. (Remember that its stock market is one of the largest in the world.)
Currently, Japanese companies have massive cash reserves, and many of them are trading below their book value.
On the other hand, we can’t really recommend starting a business on Planet Japan. The system is fairly rigid and not very open to foreigners.
Still, we do have friends there who are entrepreneurs and running successful businesses. But to succeed, they basically had to become “Japanese”.
On the downside, obtaining residency in Japan is a very convoluted process, and it's pretty much impossible to become a Japanese citizen.
So, while we’d definitely recommend visiting Japan at least once in your lifetime, starting a business there or obtaining residency in the country will be rather hard to do.