Economy of Japan

Commodore Matthew Perry of the U. S. Navy with Black Ships steamed into the bay at Edo, old Tokyo, on July 8, 1853, and displayed the threatening power of his ships’ cannons. At the time Japanese did not know what a stem engine is, due to the distance, Japanese thought the smoke of the stem engine was the fire of a great dragon. So Japanese surrendered without a fight. Commodore Perry requested that Japan open to trade with the West and ends the Japanese seclusion.

Japanese intellectuals of the late-Meiji period espoused the concept of a “line of advantage,” an idea that would help to justify Japanese foreign policy at the turn of the century. According to this principle, embodied in the slogan “fukoku kyohei”, Japan would be vulnerable to aggressive Western imperialism unless it extended a line of advantage beyond its borders which would help to repel foreign incursions and strengthen the Japanese economy. The war with China made Japan the world’s first Eastern, modern imperial power, and the war with Russia proved that a Western power could be defeated by an Eastern state (Wikipedia).

The result of these two wars made Japan the most powerful nation is Asia. In 1910, Japanese economy grows dramatically under a democratic system of government known as Taisho Democracy. The growth of economy and the arrogance of national pride made Japan a destructive power during mid-twentieth century, which later enter the World War II. However, Japan did not get much luck in World War II. As a result of its defeat at the end of World War II, Japan lost all of its overseas possessions and retained only the home islands. The World War II nearly destroyed the Japanese economy; however, Japan survived under the deep recession.

The disappointment from the war enforces the Japanese Government to focus more on its development in the economy. After the war was over, many of the wartime companies and much of the technology used during the war were converted to peaceful economic development. The nation’s industrial activities including mining, manufacturing, and technology advancement had set the firm foundation for Japan’s post-war economy development. From the 1960s to the 1980s, overall real economic growth has been a miracle: 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s and a 4% average in the 1980s (Wikipedia).

The advancement in the tertiary sector of the economy makes its manufacturing industries among the world’s top nations. Today, Japan’s main industries include motor vehicles, industrial and transportation equipments, electronics, chemicals, steel, machine tools, processed foods, and nonferrous metals. Japan also has a strong economic infrastructure to provide the needed energy, transportation, communications, and technological know-how. (wikipedia). According to the estimation in 2006, Japan ranks third in world’s Gross Domestic Product as by volume with 4.

22 trillions of U. S. dollar. Due to its large population, around127. 7 million, Japan ranks sixteenth in the world’s GDP per capital with 38,500 U. S. dollars per citizen. Japan has around 66. 44 millions of labor forces available every year, because of the necessities of its manufacture and service industries; there is only about 4. 1 percent of unemployment rate. Japan is known for its well-maintained educational system and excellent achievement. Japanese children consistently rank at or near the top in the mathematics and science field.

Early childhood education begins at home, and there are numerous books and television shows aimed at helping mothers of preschool children to educate their children and to “parent” more effectively. Much of the home training is devoted to teaching manners, proper social behavior, and structured play, although verbal and number skills are also popular themes. More than ninety-nine percent of children are enrolled in elementary school. (wikipedia). All children enter first grade at age six. Roughly, at age of fifteen, about ninety-nine percent of children enrolled in lower level school (grades 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) well enter upper level schools.

Most upper-secondary teachers are university graduates. Upper-secondary schools are organized into departments, and teachers specialize in their major fields although they teach a variety of courses within their disciplines. Every year, millions of Japanese scholars would enroll in 507 universities in Japan. The average costs including tuition, fees, and living expenses for a year of higher education were about 1. 4 million yen. To help defray expenses, students frequently work part-time or borrow money through the government-supported systems. Today, Japanese economy is facing many problems.

Currently, Japan is experiencing an economy recession, in fact, the value of the yen is falling; unemployment is rising, and purchasing of durable goods is down. Many have argued that the recession started with the low interest rates and low business taxation in 1980’s, which encouraged a large amount of investment on the stock markets. In the early 1990’s when investment began to slip asset values imploded. As a result, banks were making bad loans. Thus, government had passed several laws to help the nation’s economy, but the effect is often useless.

When the stock market began falling during 2000, those risky shares that the banks owned caused them to lose even more money. Worst of all, due to the falling of yen, many large corporations moves out of Japan, which cause the unemployment reached postwar high. During recent years, Japan had rebuilt its economy system, and is experiencing an economic growth. Many economists believe Japan is slowly stepping out of the recession. Base on its technology, strong economy infrastructure, and the arrogance of the people from “the land of rising sun”, Japan is ready for its hegemony to come again.