Comparative Politics

Download Contemporary Japan, Second Edition by Duncan McCargo PDF

By Duncan McCargo

Now absolutely revised and up-to-date, this widely-praised introductory textual content explores Japan throughout the prism of 3 substitute views: mainstream, revisionist, and culturalist. starting with the noting of Japan as a ''contested territory'' the e-book specializes in debates in regards to the actual nature of Japan's successes and shortcomings.

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Salient features of this enlightenment included a negative view of Japan’s traditions, considerable optimism about the prospects for Japan to catch up with the West, a belief in the inexorability of progress by emulating western examples, and ‘a wholehearted commitment to science, technology, and utilitarian knowledge’ (Pyle, 1996b: 93). During the Meiji period, Japan emerged as the first non-western industrial power. The government gradually developed a state-led industrial policy emphasizing the establishment of heavy industries such as mining, steel and railways; pursued a strategy of import substitution, coupled with the purchase of the best available western industrial technology; and established a dynamic export sector.

Org/EN/statistics/. 44 Contemporary Japan Japanese people want to be assured of financial security in their old age. One very important form of savings is the postal savings system, which offers tax-free savings accounts: by 1980 this system held deposits four times larger than the Bank of America, then the world’s biggest commercial bank (Johnson, 1982: 210). High levels of savings provided a ready source of capital for industrial development, yet the very low interest rates prevailing by the late 1990s undermined incentives to save, weakening a longstanding strong point of Japan’s economy.

The Changing Political Economy 43 (Allinson 1997: 100): huge consumer demand at home was the primary engine behind the growth of Japan’s industrial capacity. 1 shows a comparison of Japan’s exports and imports in 1991 and 2001. 2). Savings rates are very high, and rose steadily during the 1960s to peak in the 1970s (for a technical discussion, see Ito, 1992; 259–77). Levels of savings are consistently high across different parts of the country, and among the various age groups. Explanations offered for these high savings rates include culturalist interpretations (‘Confucian’ thriftiness), deficiencies in the social security system, the bonus system (whereby employees receive a sizeable proportion of their annual pay in the form of half-yearly bonuses), tax incentives, the need to save for the high costs of purchasing a home, and the desire to pass on inheritances to relatives.

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