The Past, Present and Future of Japan’s Economy

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Paper to be presented at the 4th ICGBE, Bangkok, Feb 1st and 2nd:

The Past, Present and Future of Japan’s Economy

Japan closed itself to the world in 1603 during the Edo period and was reopened by the arrival of Commodore Perry and his ships and, subsequently, political power was transferred to the Japanese Emperor hereafter, until the early part of WWII War. Japan was subsequently required to make huge volume of war reparations because of its wars with China and Russia and its colonization of Taiwan, Korea and north-eastern China. Previously, money had been extracted from those states to develop Japanese infrastructure and education of to make it a modern industrial country. However, Japan was defeated in the Second World War and suffered two nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan’s properties, such as factories and machineries in other parts of the country, remained productive. Also many scholars have said, Japan did not pay reasonable war reparations to many countries, such as Russia and the Philippines. It did benefit from considerable support from the USA in various aspects, such as technology transfer, national defence and commercial development. These advantages and the diligence and productivity of Japan’s workforce helped the country become an economic superpower. However, this status has been challenged through the emergence of China and South Korea and other countries which has meant Japan has lost the status of leader in several global markets, such as electric appliances, communication tools, entertainment and video games. Cheaper costs were not the only reason for this. The Japanese government has issued several classical measures to stimulate its economy such as currency depreciation and tourism promotion. However, there are some hidden causes that may inhibit economic efficiency such as the policies of the right-wing government that is strongly tied to large business groups, the working habits of Japanese people that concentrate on bureaucracy and perfectionism, and belief of conservative people that old ways are automatically best without considering the global environment and how it has changed. These factors mean the country has forgotten forget to benchmark itself to emerging global competitors so that it can adapt itself to the changing world environment.

Sittichai Anantarangsi, Research Fellow, SIU Research Centre, Shinawatra University

John Walsh, School of Management, Shinawatra University

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