Japan On Its Way To Be The World’s Largest EconomyJapan has performed a miracle. The country’s economic performancefollowing its crushing defeat in World War II is nothing short of astounding.The economic expansion of Japan is second to none.
All of the elements are inplace for Japan to continue increasing its share of the world’s wealth asAmerica’s gradually declines. The country is on track to becoming the world’slargest economy. How did Japan do it? There are many theories and studies thathave traced the Japanese miracle without success. The answer to the mystery canbe found by examining Japan’s culture, education, and employment system. Japan’ssuccess is not just a case of good technique and technology in business, but areal recognition and development of the necessary human skills.A better understanding of the Japanese society provides the framework tounderstanding the workings of Japanese business (and possibly the Japanesemind.
) The ways of the Japanese provide a foundation for their economicadaptability in modern times. Japan is a culture where human relations andpreservation of harmony are the most important elements in society. “It istheir sense of identity and destiny which gives their industrial machine itseffectiveness.”1 “Among the Japanese, there exists an instinctive respect forinstitutions and government, for the rules of etiquette and service, for socialfunctions and their rituals of business.
Japan is a traditionally crowded island,the people are forced to share the limited space with each other and to live inharmony.. The Japanese are very protective of their culture. They are veryconservative to outside intrusion. Their distinctive ways are a source of prideand national strength.
“2 Japan’s striving for purity is very different form aNorth American idea of open doors and diversity as strength. Japan is relativelyclosed to immigration to outside countries. However, this feeling of superioritydoes not stop them from being careful. “This is probably because the Japaneseknow their economic house is on shaky ground, literally. Japan is eternally atnature’s mercy, vulnerable to the sea that surrounds it, to earthquakes of thesoil beneath it and a real shortage of raw materials, particularly food andfuel.”3 A period of extended isolation could be disastrous to the country.Japan’s trade surplus is its only generator of wealth.
This is a fact of lifethat is preached through the media and taught constantly to Japanese throughouttheir lives in school, from parents, and when they enter the working world. Themessage is clear: Japan is always vulnerable, we must protect her. “Obsessedwith national character, the Japanese are proud and ambitious, constantlymeasuring themselves against the world’s best and biggest.
Accordingly, one ofthe main sources of Japan’s strength is its people’s willingness to sacrifice,to be regimented and homogenized, and to subordinate personal desires to theharmony of the working group.”4 The Japanese people have had to become a group-oriented society. While in the western world, individuality and independence arehighly valued, Japanese society emphasizes group activity and organization. Thepeople accept that they will belong to one social group and work for one companyfor life. The crowded island conditions have driven society to value conformity.
“The highest priority is placed on WA, or harmony.”5 The Japanese have learnedto share their limited space and value the precious distance between themselvesand others. The culture that Japanese people are brought up in causes them torecognize that they have to work together to succeed. Only harmony will provideimprovement. This development of the human nature and attitude relates directlyto Japan’s business practice and provides a basis for good business relations.Japan’s education system has grabbed the world’s attention as it isspecifically designed to teach the children skills and aptitudes to give them anedge in the business world. “The educational system, based on the principle offull equality of educational opportunity, is widely recognized as having greatlycontributed to the prosperity of Japan by providing a highly qualified workforce supplemented by extensive intraining programs by many of the majoremployers.”6 “The primary and secondary educational system is probably the mostcomprehensive and most disciplined in the world.
“7 Where North American studentsattend school 175 days a year, Japanese students attend 240 days. . Japanesestudents attend elementary and secondary school six days a week and for twomonths longer each year than North American students.
In addition, they havelong hours of homework. A large majority of Japanese