Japan - An Economy To Study
I think looking at Japan's history and demographic and contrasting that with North America is a good exercise. They've had an enormous housing bubble collapse with an aging population. I tend to think Japan is a little more mature in terms of where they are with the aging population, quite possibly because of their longer life. (Off topic, their almost entirely non-smoking population prior to WWII is why they have the longest living population -- and that male smoking peaked at about 80% for some age cohorts after WWII is why life expectancy is declining now. And the female population in Japan remained non-smoking until around the 80s. While I am on the topic, the masters of manipulation, the tobacco industry, used Japan's longevity data for years to cast doubt on smoking and longevity. In the 80s and 90s Japan boasted the longest life expectancy, yet it seemed like many smoked. The old people were predominately born prior to WWII and premature death from smoking is relatively small for people under 60, which was the age of the smoking population. So, Japan in the 80s and 90s is the model country to look at for natural life expectancy.)
So, Japan has had to carry an aging population that lives longer... sound like anything coming up???
Another thing about Japan to look at is the caution they would have towards the markets because of the losses in the early 90s. I think their banks did exercise more caution. When there was an effort to pull banks together to put money into a lost cause, Japan was a hold out for it.
And, some have said Japan did things to handle their crisis wrong, yet it seems to me that similar things are being done...