Foreign and Defense Policy

World Cup Solace

Japan’s women’s championship in the World Cup brings some much needed joy to a country that has had nothing but bad news for months, if not years. Still reeling from the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, facing an ongoing nuclear crisis, beset by political paralysis and a host of failed leaders, Japan’s society has absorbed body blow after body blow and yet kept its solidarity and general calm. The greatest threat I’ve felt to Japan’s future is a slow yet steady ebbing of confidence in the country’s future, a sense that nothing can fix the economic and political problems it faces. A World Cup victory won’t make Japan’s problems disappear, but the fighting spirit shown by the Japanese women’s team (the first Asian team ever to win a World Cup) against the favored (and bigger) Americans may give some much needed succor, and even some of that needed confidence, to Japan’s citizens. At a minimum, it will be a source of pride for a country that sometimes needs to remember it still has so much strength and much to admire. 

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