Late last month in Davos, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan proclaimed 2011 to be the "third opening of Japan." It was an attempt to equate his agenda to the great waves of transformation that swept the country in the mid-19th century and in the years after World War II.
That will sound hyperbolic to anyone familiar with economically moribund, politically fragmented Japan. But his aspirations should not be dismissed out of hand.
Mr. Kan's statement might at first seem unduly optimistic given recent history. Japan's leaders are prone to big statements and slow action.
For instance, under pressure from trading ...