I appreciate Lisa Twaronite

Lisa is the Marketwatch.com Tokyo correspondent.

Today, she has a piece up about the new free high school policy by the ruling DPJ (Minshuto). What makes her great is that 19 times out of 20, she is writing an article about life in Japan that really tells it like it is. This is not someone who is being flown in, in order to snap a picture of an electronic ticker board at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities around the corner from the Tokyo station, and then act like an expert on the Japan market.

Lisa Twaronite has apparently been around Japan for some time, and has three kids in school here. So as Marketwatch’s Tokyo correspondent, she is very “real”. You know? This is not, “what kind of bullshit story can I write and file this week, so I get my dough. And my, what an exotic reporting assignment that I have!”

I am convinced that people who bullshit about Japan do no one any service. It’s funny, actually, and I think occasionally Debito picks up on this at his site. Someone will fly in to tell the world about Japan. There are hundreds and hundreds of gaijins here, quite a few so-called “lifers”, who could run circles around the reporting that the fly-ins do. Yet the news outfits continue to send the fly-ins, um, in.

It gets embarrassing to read the crap, whether that it’s I’m wasting time of my life, or for the person who actually got paid money to write it.

But on Marketwatch, you can learn that yes, the government is finally making high school available without direct charge to thousands and thousands of young Japanese. But honestly, doesn’t really have a way to pay for it.

Despite the headline horrors of 200% debt-to-GDP here, the reality is the number is more like a net 80%. Still high, though. Even if it’s financed at 1.5%. The actual problem is how much more debt can be issued to the general public? Will they keep buying it? Most all Japanese debt is held by Japanese, so there is no worry (like in America) about foreign investors having no appetite for government debt. The problem is that when Japanese themselves decide they have no more appetite for Japan Government Bonds (JGBs), the whole game changes.

So check out Lisa T. on Marketwatch when you can. She is worth the read.