Can Abenomics and a “third opening” revive the economy?
Since the late 1980s, Japan's economy has struggled to overcome years of recession and punishing price deflation, plus a declining population and aging citizenry. Among the forces pushing against these head winds: a small but growing group of entrepreneurs who are trying to bring creativity and energy to the economy, and the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which is attempting to spark growth through “Abenomics” and a “third opening” consisting of free trade. Reviews of these efforts are mixed, but many experts agree Abenomics is comprehensive and ambitious. Many also agree Japan's fate is tied to implementation of the trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to the nation's ability to solve its demographic crisis. As Japan attempts to rebuild its economy, economists and policymakers are debating a number of crucial questions. Will an aging population, falling birth rate and restricted immigration doom the Japanese economy? Should Japan restart its nuclear plants? Is Abenomics working?
Dower, John, “The Useful War,” in Carol Gluck and Stephen Graubard, eds., “Showa: The Japan of Hirohito,” W.W. Norton, 1992. A historian examines how World War II affected the Japanese economy and the business world.
Johnson, Chalmers, “MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925–1975,” Stanford University Press, 1982. A specialist in Asian and Japanese policy examines how the auto industry and others gained strength in Japan in the second half of the 20th century via the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).
Kingston, Jeff, “Contemporary Japan: History, Politics, and Social Change Since the 1980s,” Wiley Blackwell, 2nd ed., 2012. The director of Asian studies at Temple University's Japan campus analyzes that nation's recent history, with updates since the Fukushima disaster and the 2012 election that brought a change in prime minister.
Pyle, Kenneth B., “The Making of Modern Japan,” Cengage Learning, 2nd ed., 1995. A University of Washington history professor, an expert on all things Japanese, describes how Japan became a modern nation; his book includes good details on the roles played by the zaibatsu and the keiretsu.
Saito, William H., “An Unprogrammed Life – Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur,” Wiley, 2012. A child prodigy, entrepreneur and current adviser to the Japanese Ministry of Education chronicles his rise in the business world and sheds light on Japan's business culture along the way.
“About that debt,” The Economist, Nov. 18, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
“The Annexation of Korea,” The Japan Times, Aug. 29, 2010, http://tinyurl.com/
“Farming in Japan: Field work,” The Economist, April 13, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
Evans, Peter, “Mitsui Fudosan Has a Big Plan for Abroad,” The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
Fingleton, Eamonn, “The Myth of Japan's Failure,” The New York Times, Jan. 6, 2012, http://tinyurl.com/
Johnston, Eric, “Lessons from when the bubble burst,” The Japan Times, Jan. 6, 2009, http://tinyurl.com/
Kisiel, Ralph, “Gamble in rural Ohio pays off big,” Automotive News, June 8, 2009, http://tinyurl.com/
Makinen, Julie, “A subculture of entrepreneurship hatches in Japan,” Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
McCurry, Justin, “Japan moves nearer to restarting nuclear reactors after court gives go ahead,” The Guardian, April 22, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Murakami, Hiromi, and Kiyoshi Kurokawa, “Fukushima crisis fueling the third opening of Japan,” The Japan Times, Dec. 1, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/
Schreffler, Roger, “Auto Industry Leading Market for Japanese Robotics,” WardsAuto, Aug. 21, 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
Sekiguchi, Toko, “Japan Opens Door Wider for Foreign Workers,” The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Takada, Aya, “Japan's Farm Lobby Concedes to Abe's Agriculture Reform Plans,” Bloomberg Business, Feb. 9, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Reports and Studies
Kanaya, Akihiro, and David Woo, “The Japanese Banking Crises of the 1990s: Sources and Lessons,” International Monetary Fund, January 2000, http://tinyurl.com/
Yoshino, Naoyuki, and Farhad Taghizadeh-Hesary, “Three Arrows of ‘Abenomics’ and the Structural Reform of Japan: Inflation Targeting Policy of the Central Bank, Fiscal Consolidation, and Growth Strategy,” ADB Institute, August 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
Moore, Jack, “Two Numbers: Japan Has More Than 60,000 Centenarians, and Tokyo Can't Afford Their Gifts,” Newsweek, Sept. 23, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Nikaido, Yuki, “Japan's population decline the steepest on record,” The Asahi Shimbun, July 2, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Nohara, Yoshiaki, “In Japan, the Rise of Machines Solves Labor Shortage,” Bloomberg Business, Sept. 13, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Arvinth, Karthick, “Japan's July trade deficit unexpectedly widens as exports slow,” International Business Times, Aug. 19, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Chakravorti, Bhaskar, “How Japan's shortcomings can trigger its next burst of innovation,” The Washington Post, July 6, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Soble, Jonathan, “With Ban on Exports Lifted, Japan Arms Makers Cautiously Market Wares Abroad,” The New York Times, July 12, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Lavelle, Moira, “Volcano near nuclear plant raising concerns in Japan,” Public Radio International, Aug. 17, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
McNeill, David, “Japan's emissions have soared since Fukushima nuclear disaster,” The Irish Times, Sept. 21, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Yamaguchi, Mari, “Can towns near Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant recover?” The Associated Press, Sept. 9, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Women in the Workplace
Gilman, Azure, “Work conditions for Japanese women may be affecting marriage, birth rates,” Al Jazeera America, June 26, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Kameda, Masaaki, “U.N. opens office dedicated to women's empowerment in Tokyo,” The Japan Times, Aug. 30, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Lewis, Leo, “Number of Japanese women in work reaches record high,” Financial Times, July 31, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Embassy of Japan
2520 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20008
Japan's official embassy in Washington; hosts many social and business-related events.
Foreign Press Center/Japan
6F Nippon Press Center Building, 2-2-1, Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0011, Japan
Nonprofit foundation that helps foreign journalists gather news in Japan; also offers fellowships and scholarships.
Japan Association of Corporate Executives
1-4-6, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan
Group of top Japanese business executives; founded in 1946 to support reconstruction of economy after World War II.
Japan Business Federation
1-3-2 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004, Japan
Japanese business lobbying association, also known as Nippon Keidanren.
Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
New York office: 145 W. 57th St., #6, New York, NY 10019
Chamber's New York office made up of large and small businesses throughout Japan.
Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C.
1819 L St., N.W., B2, Washington, DC 20036
Professional organization of Japanese business community members.
Japan International Cooperation Center
Odakyu Dai-ichi Seimei Bldg., 16th Floor, 2-7-1, Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-0716
Outreach and coordination agency promoting mutually beneficial relationships between Japan and other nations.
Japan National Tourism Organization
One Grand Central Place, 60 E. 42nd St., Suite 448, New York, NY 10165
Attached to the Embassy of Japan, the group promotes travel to Japan.
National Association of Japan-America Societies
1819 L St., N.W., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036
Private nonprofit organization that offers educational, cultural and business programs about U.S.-Japan relations.
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)
Washington office: 2000 L St., N.W., #605, Washington, DC 20036
Japanese industry, government and academic organization dedicated to international research.
U.S.-Japan Business Council
1615 H St., N.W., Washington, DC 20062-2000
Business association dedicated to Japanese-American ties.