Japan`s Rise Japan is one of the world’s leading economic powers when concentrating on its Gross Domestic Product of four point two trillion United States dollars. Its economy is only second to the United States in terms of production. However, Japan has not always contained a relatively strong economy. The Japanese’s economic strategies have boosted economy to new heights since its fall during the second world war because of their unorthodox manner of business etiquette, innovative strategy, and strong relations with stable economies such as Canada and the United States. The rise to the top did not occur without a large struggle as many problems did occur after the Second World War left Japan economically devastated.
Japan’s journey has left them at the present with recession conditions. Following world war two, Japan’s economy was absolutely devastated. From 1937 to its defeat in 1945 Japan poured all of its strength into the war. The industrial sector was diverted into a swollen military production sector. The strongest and swiftest workers were placed in the military, and quite often sent to die on the front lines of the war.
The citizens who stayed in Japan often worked in military factories, and faced the constant threat of air raids. Once the war was over there was not a need for the military industries that were created and a thick number of four million citizens became unemployed. The new unemployed total had then reached thirteen point one million people. After the war Japan was on the verge of bankruptcy in its international payments. The trade deficit had expanded drastically and the balance of payments equilibrium was completely destroyed.
Since Japan was allocating all of its resources into the war and to begin with was not a country with many raw materials they had no choice but to import an excessive amount of raw material in order to produce military hardware. Even so, the war did award JaPan with some benefits. The industries developed during the war became the major postwar industries, such as the steel and transportation industries. Wartime technology was reborn during the postwar as Japan became one of the world’s leading countries in the technology industry. Japan’s technology advances made it more competitive.
These technological developments included advancements in the production of steel by utilizing new technologies. The increase in electrical power produced by the Sakuma dam, as well as increased technologies in the area of shipbuilding; automobiles, electrical machinery, sewing machines and cameras helped put Japan on a path to being more competitive. Through massive restructuring and the creation of niche markets such as Mitsui mining being split up into Mitsui coal mining and Mitsui metal mining, Japan was able to establish a base for its future economy. The Japanese have a very different method of thought from everyone else in the world. In the beginning of this century, Japan lost its ability to feed it citizen’s and began to panic. They had money to import food however, due to their morals they would rather conquer than pay money and give in.
The country comes together as one to try to gain control as a nation. There is very little if any competition among Japanese companies when it comes to the foreign market. Japanese corporations do practice a form of conventional economic competition, but all within their own borders. This is what is known as the “one set” philosophy. Each company produces a set of various products. For example, all beer companies produce a lager, and draft and a dry beer. This is only inside Japanese borders. Economists state that it is impossible to specialize in everything, but the Japanese have an urge to be on the top in every field.
Even in the schools children are pressured to be the best. It is a very competitive environment and if they can not cut it their career goals will not be anything but an ever-lasting dream. The whole society is based on being the best at what ever it may be. Although recently the new younger generation is shifting towards a conserver society, less work and more play is the credo for this new breed of human beings. Married couples as well as single, free thinking individuals are no longer willing to let their jobs consume their lives, they take two day weekends and escape to quite places like a beach. The Americans complain about declines in their steel industries but few Americans believe that it is a problem to import CD players and TV’s.
The United States government does not have any form of a plan to create a domestic CD player or anything of the sort. This is where the Japanese are different from the rest of the world. The key is that within the country of Japan companies, and corporations competitive with each other or not they stick together to ensure the success of their country; the United States on the other hand does not compete with the rest of the world as one for it is the companies and corporations that compete individually representing the United States. As well, the Japanese capacity to produce high quality products is very emphasized in the world market. This is what permits them to ask themselves why import if we can produce a higher quantity with a better quality for a cheaper price? For example in 1985 a Boeing 747 crashed into a mountainside while flying from Tokyo to Osaka.
The plane was purchased from the United States and the crash was due to a faulty repair job performed by Boeing engineers. I quote from a Japanese pollster, Takayoshi Miyagawa, “the Japanese people think we should make by ourselves whatever concerns human life.” Another case in which Japanese pride is well demonstrated is when the space shuttle the Challenger exploded. For a year afterwards the Japanese repeatedly said, “if we had built it; it would not have happened!” This goes to prove how highly the Japanese’s think of their craftsmanship. However, in 1988 they refused to use an American vaccine, which protected children against measles, mumps and rubella all in one vaccine. The Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare instead coordinated three of the country’s vaccine making companies to produce an alternative to the American vaccine.
The Ministry made it mandatory to be vaccinated. The refusal of importing the American vaccine caused much grief. The American version had little if any side effects but the Japanese version caused outbreaks of meningitis c causing death and paralysis. Once these outbreaks were reported the vaccine was not mandatory but optional. Still this just goes to show the different ideals of Japan. In short the Japanese and even the whole east of Asia believes that the inconvenience of importing to the consumer is less damaging in the long run than the weakness of a nation’s productivity base.
This truthfully explains the Japanese and East Asian mentality. The idea of the invisible hand is one ideology brought on by the decesed capitalist Adam Smith. He stated that there should be no government intervention in the economy. The producers of Japan Produce goods for the people who buy certain products which appeal to them. Adam Smith said that the producers would have to adapt to consumer needs since the consumer will only purchase what they want to. Therefore, the economy will take care of itself through guidance from the consumer, hence a consumer run society. Adam Smith’s theories are very much a reflection of Japan’s economy.
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