Japan has suffered a great deal, and will suffer a great deal more into the future. Beyond the initial horror of the tsunami and earthquake, and beyond the immediate concern of the nuclear power plant, Japan will struggle for some time to come.
Unfortunately, Japan’s economy is not ready for this level of disaster. Of the major economies in the world, Japan’s has been slowest to come out of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC); the nation struggles with a massive public debt level that is only eclipsed by the likes of Zimbabwe, and its manufacturing industry – vital to its economic health – has largely failed compete with the likes of China and South-East Asia.
And while everyone’s donations to Japan will help in the immediate term (and are most welcome), the country will need longer-term economic help from the rest of the world to get back on its feet.
My suggestion to everyone who reads this will be a win for both you, and Japan – buy more Japanese games and consoles.
The best way to stimulate Japanese recovery is to pump money into its economy. The best way to do this (as a foreigner) is to consume Japanese goods. Yes, you’ll likely be buying these games in your local country, but that money benefits the local subsidiaries of the Japanese companies, which in turn benefits the parent company back in its homeland.
Now, this strategy does come with some hang-ups – 1) do not buy second hand games. The only people second hand games support are the local retailers, and I can promise you that GAME or EB Games are not Japanese companies. 2) Try to buy the games at full price. While this is unpleasant, it’s that price point that sees the greatest benefit for the Japanese publisher and developer.
So yes, your pocketbook will be hit slightly in doing this, but if we all do this, the overall benefit will be significant – the Japanese games companies will recover quicker, and that recovery will then help stimulate other parts of the Japanese economy.
And then, if you’re feeling really generous – go and buy some Japanese beers (I personally recommend Sapporo). It might not be your favourite, but again you’ll be helping these people get back on their feet. Or any other goods you can think of. If you've got a laptop computer purchase on the cards, think about buying a Toshiba. If you're looking at buying a car, how's about a Toyota?
The world is united in shock at the recent events in Japan. Let’s keep that unity going and help Japan get back on its feet by helping its companies which employ its people and give us games that we all love.