Past to Future: Japan’s Economic Rise
Friday, 26 March, 2021

ISET would like to thank the Japanese embassy for organizing and sponsoring our latest public lecture, graciously arranged by ambassador Akira Imamura. The ambassador kindly addressed the audience and offered his introductions to Professor Masahiko Takeda, who went on to pose a captivating presentation on the history and future of the Japanese economy. Reviewing the transition of the Japanese economy, from the perspective of a lead economist and educator, Professor Takeda neatly highlighted the history, economic development, and prospects of one of the most technologically advanced nations.

Japan suffered heavily after the Second World War, but after stabilizing hyperinflation, unlike many Western nations, the country was able to redouble its growth; and by 1968 Japan had bounced back from the trails of war and even held the second largest GDP in the world. Consequently, the country was able to preserve its traditions during challenging times.

Professor Takeda emphasized that Japan’s amazing success was due to international trade and globalization, and its approach to technology. The benefits of globalization were balanced by entrepreneurship, innovation, and high-quality human capital. In essence, Japan was able to thrive due to its ability to create good-quality products cheaply, alongside its strength in export. However, reduced work hours, lower investment, an aging population, and a bubble economy, caused difficulties which, since the 2000s, created a decline in economic growth. Whereat present, aggregate GDP is expected to decrease, with Japan becoming smaller.

Professor Takeda also noted the role of women in the workforce, suggesting that by focusing on Womanomics and their potential in the labor force, Japan can activate a once-overlooked resource. Moreover, Japan can further promote its future economy based on some of its core strengths, for instance by aiming towards female empowerment, supporting the sale of culturally popular products, and by encouraging inbound tourism.

Once again, ISET would like to offer thanks to the Japanese embassy and Professor Takeda for their invigorating lecture. We certainly hope to hear more about Japan in the future and look forward to our next public lecture.