Japan's unique economic system -- first created to help it through World War II -- served the country well for years, allowing for one of history's greatest booms. But now that same system has led Japan to the edge of economic collapse. Deep reforms are now critical. Making them will not be easy, but Japan no longer has a choice.
China is headed in the right direction. Deng's successors cannot achieve his stature, and the more stable and secure China remains, the faster power will devolve to a more liberal generation. As in other Asian nations, economic development will foster political liberalization, as well as a capitalist Hong Kong and an independent Taiwan. Though decentralization is stressful, China does not suffer from the structural weaknesses that undermined the Soviet Union. Corruption and human rights abuses are severe, but citizens can vote in competitive local elections and change jobs as they wish. China should be permitted to continue a liberation unprecedented in history.