Japan’s Growing influence in Asia: Implications for U.S Business

  • Steven B. Schlossstein

Abstract

Beginning thirty years ago, Japan caught the world’s attention through its high-quality consumer electronics products, its near-neurotic attention to manufacturing detail, and its now—famous “economic miracle.” Not long after came the Little Dragons—Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong—which replicated many of Japan’s own commercial and economic successes.

Keywords

Clay Europe Transportation Rubber Income 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Steven Schlossstein, Asia’s New Little Dragons (Chicago: Contemporary Books, Inc., Congdon & Weed, 1991), pp. 2–3. Unless otherwise indicated, the statistics and data pertaining to Southeast Asia in this paper have been sourced from the author’s most recent book.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The 1985 Plaza Accord—so named for the meeting of the five leading industrialized nations at New York’s Plaza Hotel in September, 1985—resulted in a public pledge by the United States, Japan, West Germany, France, and the United Kingdom to coordinate intervention in the foreign exchange markets in order to devalue the U.S. dollar and reverse growing trade imbalances among the major industrial nations.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Steven Schlossstein, The End of the American Century (Chicago: Contemporary Books, Inc., Congdon & Weed, 1989), pp. 64–70, 170–179, 257–259, 322–327, and 384–390.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Steven Schlossstein, “Yellow-Peril Fears are Fiction.” Business Tokyo, June 1992, p. 6. America’s Japan-bashers prefer to be called “revisionists,” though they have never really “revised” anything. The most outspoken troika consists of Professor Chalmers Johnson of the University of California at San Diego; Tokyo-based Dutch journalist Karel van Wolferen, author of The Enigma of Japanese Power; and Clyde Prestowitz, a promoter of protectionism (called “managed trade”) and former Reagan Administration trade negotiator who is president of the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), pp. 6–8.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Import substitution is a strategy pursued by a developing country to initially promote domestic industrialization by limiting or removing competing imports through quotas and tariffs, and later to develop an export trade.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    1992 JETRO White Paper: Investment, p. 209.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    JETRO, p. 210. See also Asia’s New Little Dragons, pp. 111–118. Again, as in Thailand, Japanese equipment dominates Japanese production facilities: at PT Unitex, a joint spinning and weaving venture between Unitika, a leading Japanese textile firm, and Marubeni, one of the top six trading companies, Nitto Unicard machines pulled impurities from the cotton; Hara Shokki machine mixed and blended the cotton with polyester; Toyoda looms made bobbins with the blended yarn; and Yamada Dobby weaving machines wove the cloth. The joint venture also used Murata winding machines, sectional warpers made by Okui, and Toyoda woof yarn bobbins. The only machines not made in Japan were warpers imported from Schlafhorst in Germany; there wasn’t a “Made in USA” label anywhere around.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Japan Statistical Yearbook, 1991 (Tokyo: Management and Coordination Agency, Statistics Bureau, 1991), p. 361. In 1980, Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) totaled $3.3 billion, about 0.65 percent of GNP. But by 1991, it had tripled to $9 billion and about 0.85 percent of GNP. By area, Japan’s ODA went overwhelmingly to Asia, which received two-thirds of the total, of which East Asia (excluding India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) got the lion’s share (two-thirds of Asia’s share and 41 percent of the total). By contrast, Africa (including the volatile Middle East) qualified for only 18 percent of Japan’s foreign aid.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    JETRO, p. 204.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    JETRO, pp. 240–243 (Taiwan), 178–181 (Korea), 190–191 (Singapore), and 234–235 (China).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    See The End of the American Century, viz. chapter 7, “The Delicate Seeds of Democracy,” pp. 147–149.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See Economic Statistics Monthly, No. 541. Tokyo: Bank of Japan, Research and Statistics Department, April 1992.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Clay Chandler and Quentin Hardy, “Plunging Property Prices Alarm Japan,” The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 1992, p. A-15. See also Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict, 1500–2000 (New York: Random House, 1988). The most popular Japanese accounts included Pax Japonica by Tokyo University physicist Toshiyasu Kunii, which predicted a Japan atop an “information empire;” Pax Consortis, by Sophia University professor Kuniko Inoguchi, which foresaw a world governed by a consortium of pluralistic powers; sensationalist Jun Etoh’s Nichibei Senso wa Owatteinai (The War Between Japan and America Is Not Over) projected a continued “war of protraction” between the two countries based on a hard-fought struggle for global leadership of the strategic, high-technology industries of the future; and Sha Seiki’s America no Choraku (America’s Decline) depicts an America weakened by poor public education, a debased currency, and a hollowed-out manufacturing sector. Then there was the famous The Japan that Can Say “No,” by the conservative politician Ishihara Shintaro, which suggested that Japan rebuff the United States if Washington puts too much pressure on Tokyo. Not a single Japanese source has yet hinted at the potential for a revitalized America, which was the theme of my 1990 work, The End of the American Century, abook whose working title [The New American Century] set an upbeat, optimistic tone for the nation’s future. The publisher changed the title for marketing purposes.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    See “America’s Big Question: Decline, or Transition,” Trenton Times, July 5, 1992; “Why are Americans so Angry? Are we Really in Decline?” Business for Central Jersey, May 12, 1992; “Japan’s Hidden Liabilities,” Business Tokyo, June 1991; “The Giant Nippon Monster Myth: Twelve Tokyo Troubles Japan-bashers Conveniently Ignore,” International Economy, January/February 1991, pp. 36–39; “The New McCarthyism: Inside Washington’s Apologist vs. Revisionist Debate,” International Economy, April/May 1990, pp. 32–35; and “Yellow Peril Fears are Fiction,” Business Tokyo, June 1992.Google Scholar

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

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  • Steven B. Schlossstein

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