Economic Development of Japan II

With very limited natural resources and nearly tenth largest population in the world, Japan is an internationally recognized economic powerhouse. It was the world’s second largest economy during the last four decades until China’s ascent in world economy as the second largest and Japan became a close third in total GDP from 2011. Japan is respected the world-over for its attainment of high level of technology, highly skilled and well-disciplined work force, and relatively harmonious government/market economic system. Although problems of rapidly ageing society, massive public debt, and relatively low productivity growth loom in its path to sustained economic growth, Japan is expected to continue to play a significant role on the world’s economic stage. After two decades of sluggish growth, “Japan is back,” as coined by Prime Minister Abe at the recent World Economic Forum.
In light of this background, the course will present an overview of the Japanese economic development including how Japan became an economic powerhouse after the WWII, how Japan was able to maintain its economic strength, what are the strengths of Japanese economy, and how those institutions which were impetus for growth are now undergoing reforms. Furthermore, the course will present changes not only in numbers but from interviews with people who lived through the changes and videos/movies portraying the lives of the people. We will try to get an insight of the transformation which took place in people’s standard of life and quality of life.
So, what’s Japan’s secret for its admirable economic achievements? This is the question that the course will attempt to answer. By taking the course, students will gain an understanding of the process of Japan’s economic development, major institutions which played integral roles for growth, and details of selected industries which are epitome of Japan’s economic strengths. The course will benefit those with general interest in Japan, those interested in business prospects available in Japan as there remain many business opportunities, and for those interested in working with Japanese companies as pursue international business opportunities in emerging economies.
Focusing on Japan’s post-WWII economic development to the present, this course will provide historical overview of Japan’s economic development. Beginning from the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the major phases of the economy will be covered with special emphasis on how economic success affected the lives of the people.