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21 octobre 2011 5 21 /10 /octobre /2011 09:42

The economy of Japan is the third largest in the world after the United States and the People's Republic of China, and ahead of Germany at 4th. According to the International Monetary Fund, the country's per capita GDP?PPP?was at $33,805 or the 24th highest in 2010.Sony VAIO VGN-CR11H/B Battery

For three decades from 1960, Japan experienced rapid economic growth, which was referred to as the Japanese post-war economic miracle. With average growth rates of 10% in the 1960s, 5% in the 1970s, and 4% in the 1980s, Japan was able to establish and maintain itself as the world's second largest economy from 1968 until 2010, when it was supplanted by the People's Republic of China.Sony VAIO VGN-CR11S/L Battery

However, in the second half of the 1980s, rising stock and real estate prices caused the Japanese economy to overheat in what was later to be known as the Japanese asset price bubble. The economic bubble came to an abrupt end as the Tokyo Stock Exchange crashed in 1990–92 and real estate prices peaked in 1991. Sony VAIO VGN-CR11S/P Battery

Growth in Japan throughout the 1990s at 1.5% was slower than growth in other major developed economies, giving rise to the term Lost Decade.

The problems of the 1990s may have been exacerbated by domestic policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets.Sony VAIO VGN-CR11S/W Battery

With government efforts to revive economic growth throughout the 1990s unsuccessful, Junichiro Koizumi adopted policies to promote exports, effectively raising GDP on an average of 2.1% annually from 2003 to 2007. Subsequently, the global financial crisis and a collapse in domestic demand saw the economy shrink 1.2% in 2008 and 5.0% in 2009.Sony VAIO VGN-CR11Z/R Battery

Japan has the world's highest gross sovereign debtamounting at 225% of GDP or US$10.55 trillion.

A mountainous, volcanic island country, Japan has inadequate natural resources to support its growing economy and large population.Sony VAIO VGN-CR120E/L Battery

Although many kinds of minerals were extracted throughout the country, most mineral resources had to be imported in the postwar era. Local deposits of metal-bearing ores were difficult to process because they were low grade. The nation's large and varied forest resources, which covered 70 percent of the country in the late 1980s, were not utilized extensively.Sony VAIO VGN-CR120E/P Battery

Because of political decisions on local, prefectural, and nation levels, Japan decided not to exploit its forest resources for economic gain. Domestic sources only supplied between 25 and 30 percent of the nation's timber needs. Agriculture and fishing were the best developed resources, but only through years of painstaking investment and toil. Sony VAIO VGN-CR120E/R Battery

The nation therefore built up the manufacturing and processing industries to convert raw materials imported from abroad. This strategy of economic development necessitated the establishment of a strong economic infrastructure to provide the needed energy, transportation, communications, and technological know-how.Sony VAIO VGN-CR120E/W Battery

Deposits of gold, magnesium, and silver meet current industrial demands, but Japan is dependent on foreign sources for many of the minerals essential to modern industry. Iron ore, copper, bauxite, and alumina must be imported, as well as many forest products.Sony VAIO VGN-CR125E/B Battery

In 2010 GDP Growth in the final three months was -2.9% but total GDP Growth for 2010 was 4.0%, one of the highest growth rates for about 20 years. But Japan's economy was disrupted in March 2011 due to the earthquake and the effect of the tsunami. GDP contracted by 3.5% in Q1 of 2011. Sony VAIO VGN-CR13/B Battery

As Japan's economy has suffered two quarterly contractions in a row, Japan reentered recession. In 2008-09 the economy had contracted 6.4%. However, output is expected to bounce back in the second half of 2011, as supply constraints ease and reconstruction accelerates.Sony VAIO VGN-CR13/L Battery

From 1992 up until now Japan has had economic problems with an average GDP growth of 1%-2% growth. 2011 GDP is expected to Contract 0.7%, 2012 GDP Growth is expected to be at 2.9%, according to the OECD.

Economic history

The economic history of Japan is one of the most studied economies for its spectacular growth in three different periods. Sony VAIO VGN-CR13/P Battery

First was the foundation of Edo (in 1603) to whole inland economical developments, second was the Meiji Restoration (in 1868) to be the first non European power, third was after the defeat of World War II (in 1945) when the island nation rose to become the world's second largest economy.Sony VAIO VGN-CR13/R Battery

First contacts with Europe (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 massive huge volcanic country,Sony VAIO VGN-CR13/W 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.

Renaissance Japan was also perceived as a sophisticated feudal society with a high culture and a strong pre-industrial technology. It was densely populated and urbanized. Sony VAIO VGN-CR131E/L Battery

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-CR13G 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-CR13G/B Battery

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-CR13G/L Battery

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

Edo period (1603–1868)

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-CR13G/P 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-CR13G/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-CR13G/W 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 merchantassociations. Sony VAIO VGN-CR13T/L Battery

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

By the mid-eighteenth century, Edo had a population of more than 1 million and Osaka and Kyoto each had more than 400,000 inhabitants. Sony VAIO VGN-CR13T/P Battery

Many other castle towns grew as well. 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-CR13T/R Battery

Taxes were high, about 40% of the harvest. The rice was sold at the fudasashi market inEdo. 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-CR13T/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 inDejima. The main areas that were studied included geography, medicine, natural sciences, astronomy, art, languages, Sony VAIO VGN-CR15/B Battery

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.

Prewar period (1868–1945)

Since the mid-19th century, after the Meiji restoration, the country was opened up to Western commerce and influence and Japan has gone through two periods of economic development. Sony VAIO VGN-CR150E/B Battery

The first began in earnest in 1868 and extended through to World War II; the second began in 1945 and continued into the mid-1980s.

Economic developments of the prewar period began with the “Rich State and Strong Army Policy” by the Meiji government. Sony VAIO VGN-CR190 Battery

During the Meiji period (1868–1912), leaders inaugurated a new Western-based education system for all young people, sent thousands of students to the United States and Europe, and hired more than 3,000 Westerners to teach modern science, mathematics, technology, and foreign languages in Japan (Oyatoi gaikokujin). Sony VAIO VGN-CR190E/L Battery

The government also built railroads, improved road, and inaugurated a land reform program to prepare the country for further development.

To promote industrialization, the government decided that, while it should help private business to allocate resources and to plan, the public sector was best equipped to stimulate economic growth.Sony VAIO VGN-CR190E/P Battery

The greatest role of government was to help provide the economic conditions in which business could flourish. 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. Sony VAIO VGN-CR190E/R Battery

Many of these businesses grew rapidly into the larger conglomerates. Government emerged as chief promoter of private enterprise, enacting a series of probusiness policies.

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.Sony VAIO VGN-CR190E/W Battery

Postwar period (1945–present)

From the 1960s to the 1980s, overall real economic growth has been called a "miracle": a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s and a 4% average in the 1980s. By the late Eighties, Japan had moved from being a low-wage to a high-wage economy.Sony VAIO VGN-CR19VN/B Battery

Growth slowed markedly in the late 1990s also termed the Lost Decade, largely due to the Bank of Japan's failure to cut interest rates quickly enough to counter after-effects of over-investment during the late 1980s. Some economists believe that because the Bank of Japan failed to cut rates quickly enough, Japan entered a liquidity trap. Sony VAIO VGN-CR19XN/B Battery

Therefore, to keep its economy afloat, Japan ran massive budget deficits (added trillions in Yen to Japanese financial system) to finance large public works programs.

By 1998, Japan's public works projects still could not stimulate demand enough to end the economy's stagnation.Sony VAIO VGN-CR20 Battery

In desperation, the Japanese government undertook "structural reform" policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. Unfortunately, these policies led Japan into deflation on numerous occasions between 1999 and 2004.Sony VAIO VGN-CR21/B Battery

In his 1998 paper, Japan's Trap, Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman argued that based on a number of models, Japan had a new option. Krugman's plan called for a rise in inflation expectations to, in effect, cut long-term interest rates and promote spending.Sony VAIO VGN-CR21E/L Battery

Japan used another technique, somewhat based on Krugman's, called Quantitative easing. As opposed to flooding the money supply with newly printed money, the Bank of Japan expanded the money supply internally to raise expectations of inflation. Initially, the policy failed to induce any growth, but it eventually began to affect inflationary expectations. Sony VAIO VGN-CR21E/P Battery

By late 2005, the economy finally began what seems to be a sustained recovery. GDP growth for that year was 2.8%, with an annualized fourth quarter expansion of 5.5%, surpassing the growth rates of the US and European Union during the same period.Sony VAIO VGN-CR21E/W Battery

Unlike previous recovery trends, domestic consumption has been the dominant factor of growth.

Despite having interest rates down near zero for a long period of time, the Quantitative easing strategy did not succeed in stopping price deflation.Sony VAIO VGN-CR21S/L Battery

This led some economists, such as Paul Krugman, and some Japanese politicians, to speak of deliberately causing hyperinflation.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 has fallen over approximately 50% (between June 2007 and December 2008).Sony VAIO VGN-CR21S/P Battery

The Economist has suggested that improvements to bankruptcy law, land transfer law, and tax laws will aid Japan's economy.

In recent years, Japan has been the top export market for almost 15 trading nations worldwide.Sony VAIO VGN-CR21S/W Battery


As of 2005, one half of energy in Japan is produced from petroleum, a fifth from coal, and 14% from natural gas. Nuclear power in Japan makes a quarter of electricity production and Japan would like to double it in the next decades.Sony VAIO VGN-CR21Z/N Battery

Japan's road spending has been large.The 1.2 million kilometers of paved road are the main means of transportation.Japan has left-hand traffic. A single network of speed, divided, limited-access toll roads connects major cities and are operated by toll-collecting enterprises. Sony VAIO VGN-CR21Z/R Battery

New and used cars are inexpensive. Car ownership fees and fuel levies are used to promote energy-efficiency.

Dozens of Japanese railway companies compete in regional and local passenger transportation markets; for instance, 7 JR enterprises, Kintetsu Corporation,Seibu Railway, and Keio Corporation. Sony VAIO VGN-CR220E/R Battery

Often, strategies of these enterprises contain real estate or department stores next to stations. Some 250 high-speedShinkansen trains connect major cities. All trains are known for punctuality.

There are 176 airports and flying is a popular way to travel between cities. Sony VAIO VGN-CR23/B Battery

The largest domestic airport, Tokyo International Airport, is Asia's busiest airport. The largest international gateways are Narita International Airport (Tokyo area), Kansai International Airport (Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto area), and Ch?bu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya area). The largest ports include Nagoya Port.Sony VAIO VGN-CR23/L Battery

Given its heavy dependence on imported energy, Japan has aimed to diversify its sources. Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, Japan has reduced dependence on petroleum as a source of energy from more than 75% in 1973 to about 57% at present. Other important energy sources are coal, liquefied natural gas, nuclear power, and hydropower.Sony VAIO VGN-CR23/N Battery

Demand for oil is also dampened by higher government taxes on automobile engines over 2000 cc, as well as on gasoline itself, currently 54 yen per liter sold retail. Kerosene is also used extensively for home heating in portable heaters, especially farther north. Many taxi companies run their fleets on liquefied gas with tanks in the car trunks. Sony VAIO VGN-CR23/P Battery

A recent success towards greater fuel economy was the introduction of mass-produced Hybrid vehicles. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was working on Japan's economic revival, signed a treaty with Saudi Arabia and UAE about the rising prices of oil.Sony VAIO VGN-CR23/R Battery


Japan's service sector accounts for about three-quarters of its total economic output. Banking, insurance, real estate, retailing, transportation, and telecommunications are all major industries such as Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho, NTT, TEPCO, Nomura, Mitsubishi Estate, Tokio Marine, Mitsui Sumitomo, JR East, Seven & I, and Japan Airlines counting as one of the largest companies in the world. Sony VAIO VGN-CR23/W Battery

The Koizumi government set Japan Post, one of the country's largest providers of savings and insurance services for privatization by 2014. The six major keiretsus are the Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Fuyo, Mitsui, Dai-Ichi Kangyo and Sanwa Groups. Japan is home to 326 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 or 16.3% (as of 2006).Sony VAIO VGN-CR240E/B Battery


Japanese manufacturing is very diversified, with a variety of advanced industries that are highly successful.

Industry is concentrated in several regions, in the following order of importance: the Kant? region surrounding Tokyo, especially the prefectures of Chiba,Kanagawa, Saitama and Tokyo (the Keihin industrial region);Sony VAIO VGN-CR240N/B Battery

the T?kai region, including Aichi, Gifu, Mie, and Shizuoka prefectures (the Chukyo-Tokai industrial region); Kinki (Kansai), including Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, (the Hanshin industrial region); the southwestern part of Honsh? and northern Shikokuaround the Seto Inland Sea (the Setouchi industrial region);Sony VAIO VGN-CR25G/N Battery

and the northern part of Ky?sh? (Kitaky?sh?). In addition, a long narrow belt of industrial centers is found between Tokyo and Fukuoka, established by particular industries, that have developed as mill towns.Sony VAIO VGN-CR290EAL Battery

The fields in which Japan enjoys high technological development include consumer electronics, automobile manufacturing, semiconductormanufacturing, optical fibers, optoelectronics, optical media, facsimile and copy machines, and fermentation processes in food and biochemistry.Sony VAIO VGN-CR290EAN Battery


Only 12% of Japan's land is suitable for cultivation. Due to this lack of arable land, a system of terraces is used to farm in small areas. This results in one of the world's highest levels of crop yields per unit area, with an overall agricultural self-sufficiency rate of about 50% on fewer than 56,000 km² (14 million acres) cultivated.Sony VAIO VGN-CR290EAP Battery

Japan's small agricultural sector, however, is also highly subsidized and protected, with government regulations that favor small-scale cultivation instead of large-scale agriculture as practiced in North America.

Imported rice, the most protected crop, is subject to tariffs of 490% and was restricted to a quota of only 7.2% of average rice consumption from 1968 to 1988. Sony VAIO VGN-CR290EAR Battery

Imports beyond the quota are unrestricted in legal terms, but subject to a 341 yen per kilogram tariff. This tariff is now estimated at 490%, but the rate will soar to a massive 778% under new calculation rules to be introduced as part of the Doha Round. Sony VAIO VGN-CR290EAW Battery

Although Japan is usually self-sufficient in rice (except for its use in making rice crackers and processed foods) and wheat, the country must import about 50%  of its requirements of other grain and fodder crops and relies on imports for most of its supply of meat. Sony VAIO VGN-CR29XN/B Battery

Japan imports large quantities of wheat,sorghum, and soybeans, primarily from the United States. Japan is the largest market for EU agricultural exports. Apples are also grown, mostly in Tohokuand Hokkaid?; Pears and Oranges are mainly grown in Shikoku and in Ky?sh?. Sony VAIO VGN-CR305E/RC Battery

Pears and oranges were first introduced by Dutch traders, in Nagasaki in the late 18th century.


Japan ranked second in the world behind the People's Republic of China in tonnage of fish caught—11.9 million tons in 1989, up slightly from 11.1 million tons in 1980. Sony VAIO VGN-CR31S/D Battery

After the 1973 energy crisis, deep-sea fishing in Japan declined, with the annual catch in the 1980s averaging 2 million tons. Offshore fisheries accounted for an average of 50 % of the nation's total fish catches in the late 1980s although they experienced repeated ups and downs during that period.Sony VAIO VGN-CR323/W Battery

Coastal fishing by small boats, set nets, or breeding techniques accounts for about one third of the industry's total production, while offshore fishing by medium-sized boats makes up for more than half the total production. Deep-sea fishing from larger vessels makes up the rest.Sony VAIO VGN-CR33 Battery

Among the many species of seafood caught are sardines, skipjack tuna, crab, shrimp, salmon, pollock, squid, clams, mackerel, sea bream, saury, tuna and Japanese amberjack. Freshwater fishing takes up about 30% of Japan's fishing industry. Among the species of fish caught in the rivers of Japan are many different types and some freshwater crustaceans.Sony VAIO VGN-CR382 Battery

Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the global catch, prompting some claims that Japan's fishing is leading to depletion in fish stocks such astuna. Japan has also sparked controversy by supporting quasi-commercial whaling.Sony VAIO VGN-CR490EBL Battery

Labor force

The claimed unemployment rate for June 2009 is 5.2% (5.4% male (up 0.1% from May 2009), 4.9% female (up 0.3% from May 2009)).This is regarded as an under-estimate. Even part-time workers with extremely low hours are classified as employed.Sony VAIO VGN-CR490EBN Battery

In July 2006, the unemployment rate in Japan was 4.1%, according to the OECD. At the end of February 2009, it stood at 4.4%  This seemingly modest rate however understates the situation. According to The Economist, the ratio of job offers to number of applicants has declined to just 0.59, from almost 1 at the start of 2008, while average work hours also declined. Sony VAIO VGN-CR490EBP Battery

Average wages also went down by 2.9% over the 12 months ending in February. In 2008, Japan's labor forceconsisted of some 66 million workers—40% of whom were women—and was rapidly shrinking.

One major long-term concern for the Japanese labor force is a low birthrate. Sony VAIO VGN-CR490EBR Battery

In the first half of 2005, the number of deaths in Japan exceeded the number of births, indicating that the decline in population, initially predicted to start in 2007, had already started. While one countermeasure for a declining birthrate would be to remove barriers to immigration, the Japanese government has been reluctant to do so.Sony VAIO VGN-CR490EBT Battery

In 1989, the predominantly public sector union confederation, SOHYO (General Council of Trade Unions of Japan), merged with RENGO (Japanese Private Sector Trade Union Confederation) to form the Japanese Trade Union Confederation. Labor union membership is about 12 million.Sony VAIO VGN-CR490EBW Battery

Law and government

Japan ranks 15th of 183 countries in the Ease of Doing Business Index 2010.

Japan has one of the smallest tax rates in the developed world. After deductions, the majority of workers are free from personal income taxes. Value-added tax rate is only 5%, while corporate tax rates are high.Sony VAIO VGN-CR50B/W Battery

Shareholder activism is rare despite the fact that the corporate law gives shareholders strong powers over managers. Recently, more shareholders have stood up against managers.

The government's liabilities include the second largest public debt of any nation. Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called the situation 'urgent'. Sony VAIO VGN-CR51B/W Battery

Japan's central bank has the second largest foreign-exchange reserves after People's Republic of China.


Nemawashi (???) in Japanese culture is an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for some proposed change or project, by talking to the people concerned, gathering support and feedback, and so forth. Sony VAIO VGN-CR520E/J Battery

It is considered an important element in any major change, before any formal steps are taken, and successful nemawashi enables changes to be carried out with the consent of all sides.

Japanese companies are known for management methods such as "The Toyota Way". Kaizen (??, Japanese for "improvement") is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life.Sony VAIO VGN-CR52B/W Battery

When applied to the workplace, Kaizen activities continually improve all functions of a business, from manufacturing to management and from the CEO to the assembly line workers.By improving standardized activities and processes, Kaizen aims to eliminate waste (see Lean manufacturing). Sony VAIO VGN-CR590EBL Battery

Kaizen was first implemented in several Japanese businesses during the country's recovery after World War II, including Toyota, and has since spread to businesses throughout the world. Ironically, Japanese workers work amongst the most hours per day even though kaizen is supposed to improve all aspects of life.Sony VAIO VGN-CR590EBN Battery

Some companies have powerful enterprise unions and shunt?.

The Nenko System or Nenko Joretsu as it is called in Japan, is the Japanese system of promoting an employee in order of his or her proximity to retirement. Sony VAIO VGN-CR590EBP Battery

The advantage of the system is that it allows older employees to achieve a higher salary level before retirement and that it usually brings more experience to the executive ranks. The disadvantage of the system is that it does not allow new talent to be merged with the experience and those with specialized skills cannot be promoted to the already crowded executive ranks. Sony VAIO VGN-CR590EBR Battery

It also does not guarantee or even attempt to bring the "right person for the right job".

Relationships between government bureaucrats and companies are often cozy. Amakudari (??? amakudari?, "descent from heaven") is the institutionalised practice where Japanese senior bureaucrats retire to high-profile positions in the private and public sectors. Sony VAIO VGN-CR590EBT Battery

The practice is increasingly viewed as corrupt and a drag on unfastening the ties between private sector and state which prevent economic and political reforms.

Lifetime employment (shushin koyo) and seniority-based career advancement have been common in the Japanese work environment.Sony VAIO VGN-CR590EBW Battery

Recently, Japan has begun to gradually move away from some of these norms.

Salaryman (?????? Sarar?man?, salaried man) refers to someone whose income is salary based; particularly those working for corporations. Sony VAIO VGN-CR60B/L Battery

Its frequent use by Japanese corporations, and its prevalence in Japanese manga and anime has gradually led to its acceptance in English-speaking countries as a noun for a Japanese white-collar businessman. The word can be found in many books and articles pertaining to Japanese culture. Sony VAIO VGN-CR60B/P Battery

Immediately following World War II, becoming a salaryman was viewed as a gateway to a stable, middle-class lifestyle. In modern use, the term carries associations of long working hours, low prestige in the corporate hierarchy, absence of significant sources of income other than salary, wage slavery, and kar?shi. The term salaryman refers almost exclusively to males.Sony VAIO VGN-CR60B/R Battery

An office lady, often abbreviated OL (Japanese: ???? ?eru), is a female office worker in Japan who performs generally pink collar tasks such as serving tea and secretarial or clerical work. Like many unmarried Japanese, OLs often live with their parents well into early adulthood. Sony VAIO VGN-CR61B/L Battery

Office ladies are usually full-time permanent staff, although the jobs they do usually have little opportunity forpromotion, and there is usually the tacit expectation that they leave their jobs once they get married.

Freeter (????? fur?t??) (other spellings below) is a Japanese expression for people between the age of 15 and 34 who lack full time employment or are unemployed, excluding homemakers and students. Sony VAIO VGN-CR61B/N Battery

They may also be described as underemployed or freelance workers. These people do not start a career after high school or university but instead usually live as parasite singles with their parents and earn some money with low skilled and low paid jobs.Sony VAIO VGN-CR61B/P Battery

The low income makes it difficult for freeters to start a family, and the lack of qualifications makes it difficult to start a career at a later point in life.

Kar?shi (??? kar?shi?), which can be translated quite literally from Japanese as "death from overwork", is occupational sudden death. The major medical causes of kar?shi deaths are heart attack and stroke due to stress.Sony VAIO VGN-CR61B/R Battery

S?kaiya (??? s?kaiya?), (sometimes also translated as corporate bouncers, meeting-men, or corporate blackmailers) are a form of specialized racketeer unique to Japan, and often associated with the yakuza that extort money from or blackmail companies by threatening to publicly humiliate companies and their management, usually in their annual meeting (?? s?kai?).Sony VAIO VGN-CR62B/L Battery

Sarakin (????) is a Japanese term for moneylender, or loan shark. It is a contraction of the Japanese words for salaryman and cash. Around 14 million people, or 10% of the Japanese population, have borrowed from a sarakin. In total, there are about 10,000 firms (down from 30,000 a decade ago); however, the top seven firms make up 70% of the market. Sony VAIO VGN-CR62B/N Battery

The value of outstanding loans totals $100 billion. The biggest sarakin are publicly traded and often allied with big banks.

The first "Western-style" department store in Japan was Mitsukoshi, founded in 1904, which has its root as a kimono store called Echigoya from 1673. Sony VAIO VGN-CR62B/P Battery

When the roots are considered, however,Matsuzakaya has an even longer history, dated from 1611. The kimono store changed to a department store in 1910. In 1924, Matsuzakaya store in Ginza allowed street shoes to be worn indoors, something innovative at the time. Sony VAIO VGN-CR62B/R Battery

These former kimono shop department stores dominated the market in its earlier history. They sold, or rather displayed, luxurious products, which contributed for their sophisticated atmospheres. Another origin of Japanese department store is that from railway company.Sony VAIO VGN-CR70B/W Battery

There have been many private railway operators in the nation, and from 1920s, they started to build department stores directly linked to their lines' termini. Seibu and Hankyu are the typical examples of this type.

From the 1980s onwards, Japanese department stores face fierce competition from supermarkets and convenience stores, gradually losing their presences. Sony VAIO VGN-CR71B/W Battery

Still, dep?to are bastions of several aspects of cultural conservatism in the country. Gift certificates for prestigious department stores are frequently given as formal presents in Japan. Department stores in Japan generally offer a wide range of services and can include foreign exchange, travel reservations, ticket sales for local concerts and other events.Sony VAIO VGN-CR72B/W Battery


A keiretsu (???, lit. system or series) is a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings. It is a type of business group. The prototypical keiretsu are those which appeared in Japan during the "economic miracle" following World War II.Sony VAIO VGN-CR90HS Battery

Before Japan's surrender, Japanese industry was controlled by large family-controlled vertical monopolies called zaibatsu. TheAllies dismantled the zaibatsu in the late 1940s, but the companies formed from the dismantling of the zaibatsu were reintegrated. Sony VAIO VGN-CR90NS Battery

The dispersed corporations were re-interlinked through share purchases to form horizontally-integrated alliances across many industries. Where possible, keiretsu companies would also supply one another, making the alliances vertically integrated as well.Sony VAIO VGN-CR90S Battery

In this period, official government policy promoted the creation of robust trade corporations which could withstand heavy pressures from intensified world trade competition.

The major keiretsu were each centered around one bank, which lent money to the keiretsu's member companies and held equity positions in the companies.Sony VAIO VGN-CR92HS Battery

Each central bank had great control over the companies in the keiretsu and acted as a monitoring entity and as an emergency bail-out entity. One effect of this structure was to minimize the presence of hostile takeovers in Japan, because no entities could challenge the power of the banks.Sony VAIO VGN-CR92NS Battery

There are two types of keiretsu: vertical and horizontal. Vertical keiretsu illustrates the organization and relationships within a company (for example all factors of production of a certain product will be connected), while a horizontal keiretsu shows relationships between entities and industries, Sony VAIO VGN-CR92S Batter


normally centered around a bank and trading company. Both are complexly woven together and self-sustain each other.

The Japanese recession in the 1990s had profound effects on the keiretsu. Many of the largest banks were hit hard by bad loan portfolios and forced to merge or go out of business. Sony VAIO VGN-CS118E/Q Battery

This had the effect of blurring the lines between the keiretsu: Sumitomo Bank and Mitsui Bank, for instance, became Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in 2001, while Sanwa Bank (the banker for the Hankyu-Toho Group) became part of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.Sony VAIO VGN-CS118E/R Battery

Additionally, many companies from outside the keiretsu system, such as Sony, began outperforming their counterparts within the system.

Generally, these causes gave rise to a strong notion in the business community that the old keiretsu system was not an effective business model, and led to an overall loosening of keiretsu alliances. Sony VAIO VGN-CS118E/W Battery

While the keiretsu still exist, they are not as centralized or integrated as they were before the 1990s. This, in turn, has led to a growing corporate acquisition industry in Japan, as companies are no longer able to be easily "bailed out" by their banks, as well as rising derivative litigation by more independent shareholders.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/P Battery

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