Twins, but in Separate Countries

Genetically, Toshiko and Fukuko Kubo are identical twins. The 30-year-old sisters are physically indistinguishable, from their height to their walk — even the way they both break into a wide smile.

Their lives, though, are on two separate paths, mirroring the power shift that is the economic story in Asia.

Toshiko lives in Tokyo, Japan. She has a graduate degree in art history and longs to work amid the works of the great artists of the classical era of art. Those dreams are shelved, she says, for a job with a steady salary and benefits. She works in a job outside of the field of her choice, logging the typical 14-hour work day expected in Japan. Toshiko doesn’t hate her job, but it doesn’t exactly inspire her, either.

Despite her lackluster career path, Toshiko says by Japanese standards, she’s lucky. Approximately one third of 20-to-30-year olds don’t have full-time jobs, according to Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. The ministry also shows the highest rate of unemployment is among people under age 25.

"Japan is a difficult place to live for young people," says Toshiko. "Young people don’t have goals. We can’t have dreams. Even if we have a dream, there’s no way to make it come true."

Read the rest of the story: Twin Tale: Rising China, Japan’s setting sun.

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