Japanese export strategy for the international competitiveness

Modernization of equipment and technological improvement Japan made remarkable progress in modernization, industrialization and general economic development through success transfer of modern technology from the advanced western countries, especially UK, USA, France etc., particularly in the immediate years after the Meiji restoration. It approached the issue of technology transfer through initial consideration of its own needs and sought to indigenize imported technology through the acquisition of adaptive and innovative technical capabilities. In trying to adapt, organize and diffuse technology, Japan's experience was influenced by many concomitant factors.  

Successful technology transformation with efficient utilization is a key factor making Japanese modernization and industrialization a reality. This achievement was anchored on Japanese skilfulness in modifying the structure of imported technology and making it more relevant to Japan's resource endowment mix. It was also aided by an environment which was helpful to the process of technology transfer.

Technology was introduced after the Meiji restoration when the old value and social system had been transformed in Japan. The social and value system are related to technology transfer, and Japan adapted its own while bearing this interrelatedness in mind. Also important was the nationalistic spirit with science and technology transfer issues that Japan approached.. The Meiji leaders used the state funds in respect of Japan's modernization, industrialization and technological development programs quite sensibly and were able to make the united, voluntary and enthusiastic efforts of the people directly concerned with technological transfer. 

Product specialisation Japanese economists and the Japanese government, had long since realised that the adjustment would be necessary that Japan had to move out of mass volume cheap textiles. Domestic production has shifted up-market to more expensive, high quality textiles. The emphasis has gone from labour intensive sectors such as fabric weaving and clothing manufacture to high technology activities such as synthetic fibre development and production. Finally, these labour intensive parts of the industry have been transferred to neighbour countries such as South Korea and Taiwan.

Enormous knowledge of the market Japanese companies skilled at adapting to the needs of the market, and also due to their knowledge of domestic supply situation as well as their knowledge of international markets by carry out market research, and set up their market network in markets abroad, which able to assess the comparative advantage of Japanese producers. External market provided the large base for Japanese products and the encouragement towards further investment in innovative activities. 7 Consequently, Japanese companies were well talented to develop new markets.

The contribution of textile industry to Japanese economic development The contribution of textiles and clothing to Japan's economy grew steadily during the period of industrialization in Japan from the 1870s to the 1930s. Around 1930, the textile industry was Japan's largest manufacturing industry, and the country's major source of export earnings. Table1 shows those manufacturing industries provided 1/10 of GDP and employment in Japan and 1/3 of the country's total export earnings.

Their importance within the rapidly expanding manufacturing sector had peaked a decade or so earlier, when they accounted for 30% of manufacturing value added and approximately 60% of both industrial employment and exports of manufactures, initially, half of all import expenditures was manufactured inputs for the textile sector, but as domestic production of yarns and fabrics expanded, imports of natural fibers were required instead. 

Table1. Importance of textiles, clothing and fibers in production, employment and trade in Japan, 1874-1969 (% shares) Textiles and clothing's share of total Textiles and clothing's share of manufacturing  Natural fiber's share of total import.