As Washington and Tokyo continue to clarify their relationship and roles, Japan continues to block the access of foreign professionals, Westerners and Asians alike. These market barriers serve neither the professed goals of Japan nor those of the United States. Despite repeated promises to open up, Japanese legal, media, academic and research organizations run an intellectual closed shop. Western lawyers are stymied in efforts to help firms enter the Japanese market. Foreign correspondants are systematically walled off from the most important resources. Resident Asian academics in search of stable and productive careers and education find the roads blocked. Non-Japanese scientists and engineers are kept out of state-of-the-art laboratories. Japan aspires to a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and a larger political voice, but its intellectual parsimony is simply not worthy of a world economic power, argues Ivan Hall. This book looks into the causes of these cultural and institutional barriers and examines ineffective past attempts to challenge them.
Ivan Hall has spent nearly three decades in Japan as a correspondent, cultural diplomat, and academic. He was the first associate director of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and spent nine years teaching as a professor in Japanese universities. He lives in Tokyo.