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21 octobre 2011 5 21 /10 /octobre /2011 09:44

 

Current economic issues

The Koizumi administration, which held office until 2006, enacted or attempted to pass (sometimes with failure) major privatization and foreign-investment laws intended to help stimulate Japan's economy.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/Q Battery

Although the effectiveness of these laws is still ambiguous, the economy has begun to respond, but Japan's aging population is expected to place further strain on growth in the near future.

Keynesian economists tend to claim that Japan's economy is far stronger than generally believed.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W Battery

Some mainstream economists acknowledge that Japan, which unlike most developed countries has maintained its industrial base, and has vast capital reserves, currently has a strong economic outlook.

The privatization of Japan Post, the Japanese postal system which also runs insurance and deposit-taking businesses, is a major issue.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11Z/R Battery

A political battle over privatization caused a political stalemate in August 2005, and ultimately led to the dissolution of the Japanese House of Representatives. The Postal Savings deposits, which have until now been used to fund public works projects, many of which have had questionable economic value,Sony VAIO VGN-CS120J/P Battery

stands in excess of $1.9 trillion, and could be a major force in energizing the private sector.

The Japanese monetary authorities' continued desire to depress the price of the Japanese yen relative to other key specific currencies to protect domestic business from imports may no longer be feasible. Sony VAIO VGN-CS120J/Q Battery

The most recent record intervention in 2003 amounted to over 17 trillion yen, more than one third of one trillion US dollars at the time and nearly 3% of Japan's 2003 GDP, being sold in favor of other non-yen denominated assets. However, since 2005, Japan has not directly intervened to buy currency, as yen carry trade has effectively carried out the same task.Sony VAIO VGN-CS120J/R Battery

Interestingly, international trade has expanded by 60% from 91.4 trillion yen to 142.6 trillion yen from 2001 to 2006. Taking in account the economic participation rate, Japan's GDP per worker has increased steadily.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development downgraded its economic forecasts on March 20, 2008 for the Japan for the first half of 2008. Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTB Battery

Japan does not have room to ease fiscal or monetary policy, the 30-nation group warned. For Japan, the OECD said the pace of underlying growth appears to be softening despite support from buoyant neighboring Asian economies. The organization expects first-quarter GDP to be up 0.3 percent and predicts a rise of 0.2 in the second quarter.Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTP Battery

On November 17, 2008, Japanese government officials announced that the economy was in a recession. It was reported that Japan's economy contracted at an annual pace of 1.8% in the third quarter of 2008. It is forecasted to have shrunk 0.8% through the fiscal year that ends March 2009. Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTQ Battery

In July 2009 unemployment reached a post-war high of 5.7 per cent, according to the Japan Times. Although the economy is recovering in 2010 levels of public debt remain extremely high, approaching 226% of GDP. Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTR Battery

On March 17, 2010 the Bank of Japan moved to boost yen reserves for 3-month bank loans to 20 trillion yen, although economists such as Richard Koo of the Nomura Research Institute see this as a move merely to please the Democratic Party of Japan because,Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTW Battery

as no money is leaving the financial system, there will be no impact on long term rates in either the ordinary market or the Foreign exchange market. As a result of this the foreign press and the International Monetary Fund believe Japan should be doing more to help its economy recover.Sony VAIO VGN-CS190NAB Battery

In August 2010 the yen hit a 15-year high against the US dollar in nominal terms.In real exchange rate terms, however, the yen was still valued at less than its average since 1990.Sony VAIO VGN-CS190NAC Battery

The economic history of Japan is one of the most studied for its spectacular growth after the Meiji Restoration when it became the first non-European Power and after the Second World War when the island nation rose to become the world's second largest economy.Sony VAIO VGN-CS190NAD Battery

Renaissance Europeans were quite admiring of Japan when they reached the country in the 16th century. Japan was considered as a country immensely rich in precious metals, mainly owing to Marco Polo's accounts of gilded temples and palaces, but also due to the relative abundance of surface ores characteristic of a volcanic country,Sony VAIO VGN-CS190NBB Battery

before large-scale deep-mining became possible in Industrial times. Japan was to become a major exporter of copper and silver during the period.

Japan was also perceived as a sophisticated feudal society with a high culture and a strong pre-industrial technology. Sony VAIO VGN-CS190NCA Battery

It was densely populated and urbanized. Prominent European observers of the time seemed to agree that the Japanese "excel not only all the other Oriental peoples, they surpass the Europeans as well" (Alessandro Valignano, 1584, "Historia del Principo y Progresso de la Compania de Jesus en las Indias Orientales).Sony VAIO VGN-CS190NCB Battery

Early European visitors were amazed by the quality of Japanese craftsmanship and metalsmithing. This stems from the fact that Japan itself is rather poor in natural resources found commonly in Europe, especially iron. Thus, the Japanese were famously frugal with their consumable resources; what little they had they used with expert skill.Sony VAIO VGN-CS190NCC Battery

Trade with Europe

The cargo of the first Portuguese ships (usually about 4 smaller-sized ships every year) arriving in Japan almost entirely consisted of Chinese goods (silk, porcelain). The Japanese were very much looking forward to acquiring such goods, but had been prohibited from any contacts with the Emperor of China, as a punishment for Wak? pirate raids. Sony VAIO VGN-CS50B/W Battery

The Portuguese (who were calledNanban, lit. Southern Barbarians) therefore found the opportunity to act as intermediaries in Asian trade.

From the time of the acquisition of Macau in 1557, and their formal recognition as trade partners by the Chinese, Sony VAIO VGN-CS51B/W Battery

the Portuguese Crown started to regulate trade to Japan, by selling to the highest bidder the annual "Capitaincy" to Japan, in effect conferring exclusive trading rights for a single carrack bound for Japan every year. The carracks were very large ships, usually between 1000 and 1500 tons, about double or triple the size of a large galleon or junk.Sony VAIO VGN-CS52JB/W Battery

That trade continued with few interruptions until 1638, when it was prohibited on the ground that the ships were smuggling priests into Japan.

Portuguese trade was progressively more and more challenged by Chinese smugglers on junks, Japanese Red Seal Ships from around 1592 (about ten ships every year),Sony VAIO VGN-CS60B/P Battery

Spanish ships from Manila from around 1600 (about one ship a year), the Dutch from 1609, the English from 1613 (about one ship per year).

The Dutch, who, rather than "Nanban" were called "K?m?" (Jp:??, lit. "Red Hair") by the Japanese, first arrived in Japan in 1600, onbard the Liefde. Sony VAIO VGN-CS60B/Q Battery

Their pilot wasWilliam Adams , the first Englishman to reach Japan. In 1605, two of the Liefde's crew were sent to Pattani by Tokugawa Ieyasu, to invite Dutch trade to Japan. The head of the Pattani Dutch trading post, Victor Sprinckel, refused on the ground that he was too busy dealing with Portuguese opposition in Southeast Asia. Sony VAIO VGN-CS60B/R Battery

In 1609 however, the Dutch Jacques Specx arrived with two ships in Hirado, and through Adams obtained trading privileges from Ieyasu.

The Dutch also engaged in piracy and naval combat to weaken Portuguese and Spanish shipping in the Pacific, and ultimately became the only westerners to be allowed access to Japan from the small enclave of Dejima after 1638 and for the next two centuries.Sony VAIO VGN-CS61B/P Battery

Edo period

The beginning of the Edo period coincides with the last decades of the Nanban trade period, during which intense interaction with European powers, on the economic and religious plane, took place. Sony VAIO VGN-CS61B/Q Battery

It is at the beginning of the Edo period that Japan built her first ocean-going Western-style warships, such as theSan Juan Bautista, a 500-ton galleon-type ship that transported a Japanese embassy headed by Hasekura Tsunenaga to the Americas, which then continued to Europe. Sony VAIO VGN-CS61B/R Battery

Also during that period, the bakufu commissioned around 350 Red Seal Ships, three-masted and armed trade ships, for intra-Asian commerce. Japanese adventurers, such as Yamada Nagamasa, were active throughout Asia.

In order to eradicate the influence of Christianization, Japan entered in a period of isolation called sakoku, during which its economy enjoyed stability and mild progress.Sony VAIO VGN-CS62JB/P Battery

Economic development during the Edo period included urbanization, increased shipping of commodities, a significant expansion of domestic and, initially, foreign commerce, and a diffusion of trade and handicraft industries. The construction trades flourished, along with banking facilities and merchant associations. Sony VAIO VGN-CS62JB/Q Battery

Increasingly, han authorities oversaw the rising agricultural production and the spread of rural handicrafts.

By the mid-18th century, Edo had a population of more than 1 million and Osaka and Kyoto each had more than 400,000 inhabitants. Many other castle towns grew as well. Sony VAIO VGN-CS62JB/R Battery

Osaka and Kyoto became busy trading and handicraft production centers, while Edo was the center for the supply of food and essential urban consumer goods.

Rice was the base of the economy, as the daimyo collected the taxes from the peasants in the form of rice. Sony VAIO VGN-CS71B/W Battery

Taxes were high, about 40% of the harvest. The rice was sold at the fudasashi market in Edo. To raise money, the daimyo used forward contracts to sell rice that was not even harvested yet. These contracts were similar to modern futures trading.Sony VAIO VGN-CS72JB/W Battery

During the period, Japan progressively studied Western sciences and techniques (called rangaku, literally "Dutch studies") through the information and books received through the Dutch traders in Dejima. The main areas that were studied included geography,Sony VAIO VGN-CS90HS Battery

medicine, natural sciences, astronomy, art, languages, physical sciences such as the study of electrical phenomena, and mechanical sciences as exemplified by the development of Japanese clockwatches, or wadokei, inspired from Western techniques.Sony VAIO VGN-CS90NS Battery

Prewar period

Since 1854, when the Tokugawa shogunate first opened the country to Western commerce and influence (Bakumatsu), Japan has gone through two periods of economic development. Sony VAIO VGN-CS90S Battery

When Tokugawa shogunate was overthrown and Meiji government was founded, Japanese Westernization began completely. The first term is during Prewar Japan, the second term is Postwar Japan.

In the Meiji period, leaders inaugurated a new Western-based education system for all young people, sent thousands of students to the United States and Europe,Sony VAIO VGN-CS91HS Battery

and hired more than 3,000 Westerners to teach modern science, mathematics, technology, and foreign languages in Japan (O-yatoi gaikokujin). The government also builtrailroads, improved roads, and inaugurated a land reform program to prepare the country for further development.Sony VAIO VGN-CS91NS Battery

To promote industrialization, the government decided that, while it should help private business to allocate resources and to plan, the private sector was best equipped to stimulate economic growth. The greatest role of government was to help provide the economic conditions in which business could flourish. Sony VAIO VGN-CS91S Battery

In short, government was to be the guide and business the producer. In the early Meiji period, the government built factories and shipyards that were sold to entrepreneurs at a fraction of their value. Many of these businesses grew rapidly into the largerconglomerates.Sony VAIO VGN-CS92DS Battery

Government emerged as chief promoter of private enterprise, enacting a series of probusiness policies.

The development of banking and reliance on bank funding have been at the centre of Japanese economic development at least since the Meiji era.Sony VAIO VGN-CS92JS Battery

In the mid 1930s, the Japanese nominal wage rates were 10 times less than the one of the U.S (based on mid-1930s exchange rates), while the price level is estimated to have been about 44% the one of the U.S.

Militarism

Before World War II, Japan built an extensive empire that included Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, and parts of northern China.Sony VAIO VGN-CS92XS Battery

The Japanese regarded this sphere of influence as a political and economic necessity, preventing foreign states from strangling Japan by blocking its access to raw materials and crucial sea-lanes, as Japan possessed very few natural and mining resources of it own, although it imported large amounts of coal from Chosen,Sony VAIO VGN-FW11E Battery

Manchukuo, and some regions of occupied China. Japan's large military force was regarded as essential to the empire's defense.

Rapid growth and structural change characterized Japan's two periods of economic development since 1868. Sony VAIO VGN-FW11L Battery

In the first period, the economy grew only moderately at first and relied heavily on traditional agriculture to finance modern industrial infrastructure. When the Russo-Japanese War began in 1904, 65% of employment and 38% of the gross domestic product (GDP) was still based on agriculturebut modern industry had begun to expand substantially. Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M Battery

During World War I, Japan used the absence of the war-torn European competitors on the world market to advance its economy, generating atrade surplus for the first time since the isolation in the Edo period. By the late 1920s, manufacturing and mining contributed 23% of GDP, compared with 21% for all of agriculture. Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S Battery

Transportation andcommunications had developed to sustain heavy industrial development.

In the 1930s, the Japanese economy suffered less from the Great Depression than most industrialized nations, expanding at the rapid rate of 5% of GDP per year. Sony VAIO VGN-FW11ZU Battery

Manufacturing and mining came to account for more than 30% of GDP, more than twice the value for the agricultural sector. Most industrial growth, however, was geared toward expanding the nation's military power.

Beginning in 1937 with significant land seizures in China, and to a much greater extent after 1941, Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H Battery

when annexations and invasions across Southeast Asia and the Pacific created the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Japanese government sought to acquire and develop critical natural resources in order to secure economic independence. Sony VAIO VGN-FW140AE Battery

Among the natural resources Japan seized and developed were coal in China, sugarcane in the Philippines, petroleum from the Dutch East Indies and Burma, and tin and bauxite from the Dutch East Indies and Malaya. Japan also purchased the rice production of Thailand, Burma, and Cochinchina.Sony VAIO VGN-FW140D Battery

During the early stages of Japan's expansion, the Japanese economy expanded considerably. Steel production rose from 6,442,000 tonnes to 8,838,000 tonnes over the same time period. In 1941 Japanese aircraft industries had capacity to manufacture 10,000 aircraft per year. Sony VAIO VGN-FW140E Battery

Much of this economic expansion benefited the "zaibatsu", large industrial conglomerates.

Over the course of the Pacific War, the economies of Japan and its occupied territories all suffered severely.Sony VAIO VGN-FW140E/H Battery

Inflation was rampant; Japanese heavy industry, forced to devote nearly all its production to meeting military needs, was unable to meet the commercial requirements of Japan (which had previously relied on trade with Western countries for their manufactured goods). Sony VAIO VGN-FW140E/W Battery

Local industries were unable to produce at high enough levels to avoid severe shortfalls. Furthermore, maritime trade, upon which the Empire depended greatly, was sharply curtailed by damage to the Japanese merchant fleet over the course of the war.

By the end of the war, what remained of the Japanese Empire was wracked by shortages, inflation, and currency devaluation.Sony VAIO VGN-FW140FE Battery

Transport was nearly impossible, and industrial production in Japan's shattered cities ground to a halt. The destruction wrought by the war eventually brought the Japanese economy to a virtual standstill.

Postwar period

World War II wiped out many of the gains Japan had made since 1868. Sony VAIO VGN-FW140N Battery

About 40% of the nation's industrial plants and infrastructure were destroyed, and production reverted to levels of about fifteen years earlier. The people were shocked by the devastation and swung into action. New factories were equipped with the best modern machines, giving Japan an initial competitive advantage over the victor states, who now had older factories. Sony VAIO VGN-FW140N/W Battery

As Japan's second period of economic development began, millions of former soldiers joined a well-disciplined and highly educated work force to rebuild Japan. Japan's colonies were lost as a result of World War II, but since then the Japanese had extended their economic influence throughout Asia and beyond.Sony VAIO VGN-FW145E Battery

Occupation

The United States occupation of Japan (1945–52) resulted in the rebuilding of the nation and the creation of a democratic state. United States assistance totaled about US$1.9 billion during the occupation, or about 15% of the nation's imports and 4% of GNP in that period. Sony VAIO VGN-FW145E/W Battery

About 59% of this aid was in the form of food, 15% in industrial materials, and 12% in transportation equipment. United States grant assistance, however, tapered off quickly in the mid-1950s. United States military procurement from Japan peaked at a level equivalent to 7% of Japan's GNP in 1953 and fell below 1% after 1960. Sony VAIO VGN-FW160AE Battery

A variety of United States-sponsored measures during the occupation, such as land reform, contributed to the economy's later performance by increasing competition. In particular, the postwar purge of industrial leaders allowed new talent to rise in the management of the nation's rebuilt industries. Sony VAIO VGN-FW160D Battery

Finally, the economy benefited from foreign trade because it was able to expand exports rapidly enough to pay for imports of equipment and technology without falling into debt, as had a number of developing nations in the 1980s.

Rebuilding

The early postwar years were devoted to rebuilding lost industrial capacity: major investments were made in electric power, coal, iron, steel, and chemical fertilizers. Sony VAIO VGN-FW160E Battery

By the mid-1950s, production matched prewar levels. Released from the demands of military-dominated government, the economy not only recovered its lost momentum but also surpassed the growth rates of earlier periods. Between 1953 and 1965, GDP expanded by more than 9% per year, manufacturing and mining by 13%, construction by 11%, and infrastructure by 12%.Sony VAIO VGN-FW160E/H Battery

In 1965 these sectors employed more than 41% of the labor force, whereas only 26% remained in agriculture.

Japan's highly acclaimed postwar education system contributed strongly to the modernizing process. Sony VAIO VGN-FW160F/E Battery

The world's highest literacy rate and high education standards were major reasons for Japan's success in achieving a technologically advanced economy. Japanese schools also encouraged discipline, another benefit in forming an effective work force.Sony VAIO VGN-FW170J/H Battery

The mid-1960s ushered in a new type of industrial development as the economy opened itself to international competition in some industries and developed heavy and chemical manufactures. Whereastextiles and light manufactures maintained their profitability internationally, other products, such as automobiles, ships, and machine tools assumed new importance.Sony VAIO VGN-FW180AE Battery

The value added to manufacturing and mining grew at the rate of 17% per year between 1965 and 1970. Growth rates moderated to about 8% and evened out between the industrial and service sectors between 1970 and 1973, as retail trade, finance, real estate, information, and other service industries streamlined their operations.Sony VAIO VGN-FW180D Battery

Oil crisis

Japan faced a severe economic challenge in the mid-1970s. The world oil crisis in 1973 shocked an economy that had become virtually dependent on foreign petroleum. Japan experienced its first postwar decline in industrial production, together with severe price inflation.Sony VAIO VGN-FW180E Battery

The recovery that followed the first oil crisis revived the optimism of most business leaders, but the maintenance of industrial growth in the face of high energy costs required shifts in the industrial structure.

Changing price conditions favored conservation and alternative sources of industrial energy. Sony VAIO VGN-FW180E/H Battery

Although the investment costs were high, many energy-intensive industries successfully reduced their dependence on oil during the late 1970s and 1980s and enhanced their productivity. Advances in microcircuitry and semiconductors in the late 1970s and 1980s led to new growth industries inconsumer electronics and computers, and to higher productivity in pre-established industries.Sony VAIO VGN-FW180FU Battery

The net result of these adjustments was to increase the energy efficiency of manufacturing and to expand so-called knowledge-intensive industries. The service industries expanded in an increasingly postindustrial economy.Sony VAIO VGN-FW190EBH Battery

Structural economic changes, however, were unable to check the slowing of economic growth as the economy matured in the late 1970s and 1980s, attaining annual growth rates at only 4 to 6%. But these rates were remarkable in a world of expensive petroleum and in a nation of few domestic resources. Sony VAIO VGN-FW190ECH Battery

Japan's average growth rate of 5% in the late 1980s, for example, was far higher than the 3.8% growth rate of the United States. Despite more petroleum price increases in 1979, the strength of the Japanese economy was apparent. It expanded without the double-digit inflation that afflicted other industrial nations (and that had bothered Japan itself after the first oil crisis in 1973). Sony VAIO VGN-FW190EDH Battery

Japan experienced slower growth in the mid-1980s, but its demand-sustained economic boom of the late 1980s revived many troubled industries.

Factors of growth

Complex economic and institutional factors affected Japan's postwar growth. First, the nation's prewar experience provided several important legacies. Sony VAIO VGN-FW190NAH Battery

The Tokugawa period (1600–1867) bequeathed avital commercial sector in burgeoning urban centers, a relatively well-educated elite (although one with limited knowledge of European science), a sophisticated government bureaucracy, productiveagriculture, a closely unified nation with highly developed financial and marketing systems, and a national infrastructure of roads. Sony VAIO VGN-FW190NBH Battery

The buildup of industry during the Meiji period to the point where Japan could vie for world power was an important prelude to postwar growth from 1955 to 1973 [5] and provided a pool of experienced labor following World War II.

Second, and more important, was the level and quality of investment that persisted through the 1980s. Sony VAIO VGN-FW190NCH Battery

Investment in capital equipment, which averaged more than 11% of GNP during the prewar period, rose to about 20% of GNP during the 1950s and to more than 30% in the late 1960s and 1970s. During the economic boom of the late 1980s, the rate still hovered around 20%.Sony VAIO VGN-FW190NDH Battery

Japanese businesses imported the latest technologies to develop the industrial base. As a latecomer to modernization, Japan was able to avoid some of the trial and error earlier needed by other nations to develop industrial processes. In the 1970s and 1980s, Japan improved its industrial base through technology licensing, Sony VAIO VGN-FW190NEH Battery

patent purchases, and imitation and improvement of foreign inventions. In the 1980s, industry stepped up its research and development, and many firms became famous for their innovations and creativity.

Japan's labor force contributed significantly to economic growth, not only because of its availability and literacy but also because of its reasonable wage demands.Sony VAIO VGN-FW198U/H Battery

Before and immediately after World War II, the transfer of numerous agricultural workers to modern industry resulted in rising productivity and only moderate wage increases. As population growth slowed and the nation became increasingly industrialized in the mid-1960s, wages rose significantly. Sony VAIO VGN-FW260J/B Battery

However, labor union cooperation generally kept salary increases within the range of gains in productivity.

High productivity growth played a key role in postwar economic growth. The highly skilled and educated labor force, extraordinary savings rates and accompanying levels of investment, and the low growth of Japan's labor force were major factors in the high rate of productivity growth.Sony VAIO VGN-FW280J/H Battery

The nation has also benefited from economies of scale. Although medium-sized and small enterprises generated much of the nation's employment, large facilities were the most productive. Many industrial enterprises consolidated to form larger, more efficient units.Sony VAIO VGN-FW290JRB Battery

Before World War II, large holding companies formed wealth groups, or zaibatsu, which dominated most industry. The zaibatsu were dissolved after the war, but keiretsu—large, modern industrial enterprise groupings—emerged. The coordination of activities within these groupings and the integration of smaller subcontractors into the groups enhanced industrial efficiency.Sony VAIO VGN-FW290JTB Battery

Japanese corporations developed strategies that contributed to their immense growth. Growth-oriented corporations that took chances competed successfully. Product diversification became an essential ingredient of the growth patterns of many keiretsu. Japanese companies added plant and human capacity ahead of demand.Sony VAIO VGN-FW290JTH Battery

Seeking market share rather than quick profit was another powerful strategy.

Finally, circumstances beyond Japan's direct control contributed to its success. International conflicts tended to stimulate the Japanese economy until the devastation at the end of World War II. Sony VAIO VGN-FW290JTW Battery

TheRusso-Japanese War (1904-5), World War I (1914–18), the Korean War (1950–53), and the Second Indochina War (1954–75) brought economic booms to Japan. In addition, benign treatment from the United States after World War II facilitated the nation's reconstruction and growth.Sony VAIO VGN-FW355J/H Battery

The Evolving Occupational Structure

As late as 1955, some 40% of the labor force still worked in agriculture, but this figure had declined to 17% by 1970 and to 7.2% by 1990. The government estimated in the late 1980s that this figure would decline to 4.9% by 2000, as Japan imported more and more of its food and small family farms disappeared.Sony VAIO VGN-FW373J/B Battery

Japan's economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s was based on the rapid expansion of heavy manufacturing in such areas as automobiles, steel, shipbuilding, chemicals, and electronics. The secondary sector (manufacturing, construction, and mining) expanded to 35.6% of the work force by 1970.Sony VAIO VGN-FW30B Battery

By the late 1970s, however, the Japanese economy began to move away from heavy manufacturing toward a more service-oriented (tertiary sector) base. During the 1980s, jobs in wholesaling, retailing, finance, insurance, real estate, Sony VAIO VGN-FW50B Battery

transportation, communications, and governmentgrew rapidly, while secondary-sector employment remained stable. The tertiary sector grew from 47% of the work force in 1970 to 59.2% in 1990.

1980s

Throughout the 1970s, Japan had the world's second largest gross national product (GNP)—just behind the United States— and ranked first among major industrial nations in 1990 in per capita GNP at US$23,801,Sony VAIO VGN-FW51B/W Battery

up sharply from US$9,068 in 1980. After a mild economic slump in the mid-1980s, Japan's economy began a period of expansion in 1986 that continued until it again entered a recessionary period in 1992. Economic growth averaging 5% between 1987 and 1989 revived industries, Sony VAIO VGN-FW51MF Battery

such as steel and construction, which had been relatively dormant in the mid-1980s, and brought record salaries and employment. In 1992, however, Japan's real GNP growth slowed to 1.7%. Even industries such as automobiles and electronics that had experienced phenomenal growth in the 1980s entered a recessionary period in 1992. Sony VAIO VGN-FW51MF/H Battery

The domestic market for Japanese automobiles shrank at the same time that Japan's share of the United States' market declined. Foreign and domestic demand for Japanese electronics also declined, and Japan seemed on the way to losing its leadership in the world semiconductor market to the United States, Korea and Taiwan.Sony VAIO VGN-FW51ZF Battery

Unlike the economic booms of the 1960s and 1970s, when increasing exports played the key role in economic expansion, domestic demand propelled the Japanese economy in the late 1980s. This development involved fundamental economic restructuring, moving from dependence on exports to reliance on domestic demand. Sony VAIO VGN-FW51ZF/H Battery

The boom that started in 1986 was generated by the decisions of companies to increase private plant and equipment spending and of consumers to go on a buying spree. Japan's imports grew at a faster rate than exports. Japanese postwar technological researchwas carried out for the sake of economic growth rather than military development. Sony VAIO VGN-FW52JB Battery

The growth in high-technology industries in the 1980s resulted from heightened domestic demand for high-technology products and for higher living, housing, and environmental standards; better  health, medical, and welfare opportunities; better leisure-time facilities; and improved ways to accommodate a rapidly aging society. Sony VAIO VGN-FW54FB Battery

This reliance on domestic consumption also meant that consumption grew by only 2.2% in 1991 and at the same rate again in 1992.

During the 1980s, the Japanese economy shifted its emphasis away from primary and secondary activities (notably agriculture, manufacturing, and mining) to processing,Sony VAIO VGN-FW70DB Battery

with telecommunications and computers becoming increasingly vital. Information became an important resource and product, central to wealth and power. The rise of an information-based economy was led by major research in highly sophisticated technology, such as advanced computers. Sony VAIO VGN-FW71DB/W Battery

The selling and use of information became very beneficial to the economy. Tokyo became a major financial center, home of some of the world's major banks, financial firms, insurance companies, and the world's largest stock exchange, the Tokyo Securities and Stock Exchange. Even here, however, the recession took its toll.Sony VAIO VGN-FW72JGB Battery

In 1992, the Nikkei 225 stock average began the year at 23,000 points, but fell to 14,000 points in mid-August before leveling off at 17,000 by the end of the year.

1989 Economic Bubble

In the decades following World War II, Japan implemented stringent tariffs and policies to encourage the people to save their income.Sony VAIO VGN-FW73JGB Battery

With more money in banks, loans and credit became easier to obtain, and with Japan running large trade surpluses, the yen appreciated against foreign currencies. This allowed local companies to invest in capital resources much more easily than their competitors overseas, which reduced the price of Japanese-made goods and widened the trade surplus further. Sony VAIO VGN-FW74FB Battery

And, with the yen appreciating, financial assets became very lucrative.

With so much money readily available for investment, speculation was inevitable, particularly in the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the real estate market. Sony VAIO VGN-FW81HS Battery

The Nikkei stock index hit its all-time high on December 29, 1989 when it reached an intra-day high of 38,957.44 before closing at 38,915.87. The rates for housing, stocks, and bonds rose so much that at one point the government issued 100-year bonds. Additionally, banks granted increasingly risky loans.Sony VAIO VGN-FW81NS Battery

At the height of the bubble, real estate values were extremely over-valued. Prices were highest in Tokyo's Ginza district in 1989, with choice properties fetching over US$1.5 million per square meter ($139,000 per square foot). Prices were only slightly less in other areas of Tokyo. Sony VAIO VGN-FW81S Ba

ttery

By 2004, prime "A" property in Tokyo's financial districts had slumped and Tokyo's residential homes were a fraction of their peak, but still managed to be listed as the most expensive real estate in the world. Trillions were wiped out with the combined collapse of the Tokyo stock and real estate markets.Sony VAIO VGN-FW82DS Battery

With Japan's economy driven by its high rates of reinvestment, this crash hit particularly hard. Investments were increasingly directed out of the country, and Japanese manufacturing firms lost some degree of their technological edge. Sony VAIO VGN-FW82JS Battery

As Japanese products became less competitive overseas, some people argue that the low consumption rate began to bear on the economy, causing a deflationaryspiral.

The easily obtainable credit that had helped create and engorge the real estate bubble continued to be a problem for several years to come, and as late as 1997, banks were still making loans that had a low guarantee of being repaid.Sony VAIO VGN-FW82XS Battery

Loan Officers and Investment staff had a hard time finding anything to invest in that would return a profit. Meanwhile, the extremely low interest rate offered for deposits, such as 0.1%, meant that ordinary Japanese savers were just as inclined to put their money under their beds as they were to put it in savings accounts. Sony VAIO VGN-FW83DS Battery

Correcting the credit problem became even more difficult as the government began to subsidize failing banks and businesses, creating many so-called "zombie businesses". Eventually a carry trade developed in which money was borrowed from Japan, invested for returns elsewhere and then the Japanese were paid back, with a nice profit for the trader.Sony VAIO VGN-FW83JS Battery

The time after the bubble's collapse (?? h?kai?), which occurred gradually rather than catastrophically, is known as the "lost decade or end of the century" (????10? ushinawareta j?nen?) in Japan. The Nikkei 225 stock index eventually bottomed out at 7603.76 in April 2003, moved upward to a new peak of 18,138 in June 2007, Sony VAIO VGN-FW83XS Battery

before resuming a downward trend. The downward movement in the Nikkei is likely due to global as well as national economic problems.

Deflation from the 1990s to present

Deflation in Japan started in the early 1990s. On March 19, 2001, the Bank of Japan and the Japanese government tried to eliminate deflation in the economy by reducing interest rates (part of their 'quantitative easing' policy). Sony VAIO VGN-FW90HS Battery

Despite having interest rates down near zero for a long period of time, this strategy did not succeed.Once the near-zero interest rates failed to stop deflation, some economists, such as Paul Krugman, and some Japanese politicians spoke of deliberately causing (or at least creating the fear of) inflation.Sony VAIO VGN-FW90NS Battery

In July 2006, the zero-rate policy was ended. In 2008, the Japanese Central Bank still has the lowest interest rates in the developed world, deflation has still not been eliminated and the Nikkei 225 fell approximately 50% (between June 2007 and December 2008).Sony VAIO VGN-FW90S Battery

Systemic reasons for deflation in Japan can be said to include:

  • Fallen asset prices. There was a large price bubble in both equities and real estate in Japan in the 1980s (peaking in late 1989).Sony VAIO VGN-FW91NS Battery
  • Insolvent companies: Banks lent to companies and individuals that invested in real estate. When real estate values dropped, many loans went unpaid. The banks could try to collect on the collateral (land), but due to reduced real estate values, this would not pay off the loan. Sony VAIO VGN-FW91S Battery
  • Banks have delayed the decision to collect on the collateral, hoping asset prices would improve. These delays were allowed by national banking regulators. Some banks make even more loans to these companies that are used to service the debt they already have. Sony VAIO VGN-FW92DS Battery
  • This continuing process is known as maintaining an "unrealized loss", and until the assets are completely revalued and/or sold off (and the loss realized), it will continue to be a deflationary force in the economy.
  • Insolvent banks: Banks with a large percentage of their loans which are "non-performing" Sony VAIO VGN-FW92JS Battery
  • (loans for which payments are not being made), but have not yet written them off. These banks cannot lend more money until they increase their cash reserves to cover the bad loans. Sony VAIO VGN-FW93DS Battery
  • Thus the quantity of loans are reduced and less funds are available for economic growth.
  • Fear of insolvent banks: Japanese people are afraid that banks will collapse so they prefer to buy gold or (United States or Japanese) Treasury bonds instead of saving their money in a bank account. People also save by owning real estate.Sony VAIO VGN-FW93JS Battery

The Economist has suggested that improvements to bankruptcy law, land transfer law, and tax laws will aid Japan's economy. In October 2009 the Japanese government announced plans to increasetobacco and green taxes while reducing rates for small and medium sized companies, according to NHK.Sony VAIO VGN-FW93XS Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-FW94FS Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-FW94GS Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-FW94HS Battery

 

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