Japan's Open Future: An Agenda for Global Citizenship (Anthem Asia-Pacific Series) (英語) ハードカバー – 2009/3
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For many decades Japan enjoyed great success with its export-oriented economy and the outsourcing of its foreign policy to the United States under the US security umbrella. Its role in the world was simple, and times were good. But times have changed: with the end of the Cold War, the collapse of its bubble economy, a shrinking domestic population, global instabilities after 9-11, the rise of China, and other seismic shifts, Japan now faces a much more complicated world. In this groundbreaking and provocative discussion, three foreigners who have lived and worked in Japan - a Canadian, a Frenchman and a Spaniard - argue that Japan has much to gain by pursuing a more engaged, outward-looking, multilateral posture in its region and globally. While the country will continue to enjoy good relations with the West, the time has come for Japan to embrace its Asian heritage and future, as well as its own potential contribution to world affairs. A globally engaged, more open Japan, the authors argue, is win-win-win: good for Japan, good for Asia, and good for the world. If Japan is truly to become a global citizen, however, it must not only reach out more to the world, it must also admit more of the world - new ideas, people, and capital from afar - on its own soil. But is Japan - are Japanese - prepared to do so?
'Engaging touches of humor and anecdotes combine seamlessly with serious, in-depth analysis.'
"Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development" ""
'At the heart of this profound and at times "gut-wrenching" work, the authors ask the question, how will Japan participate in the Post-American era?'
"Mike Garrett, Former President, Nestle Japan" ""
'I strongly recommend this book to the Japanese and international audience.'
"Wu Jianmin, Former President of China Foreign Affairs University" "" ""
'The future could spell deep trouble if the Japanese do not understand the message of "Japan""'s Open Future,"'
"Masaru Tamamoto, World Policy Institute"
'What needs to done is summed up 'Japan's Open Future'. Authors John Haffner, Tomas Casas i Klett and Jean-Pierre Lehmann make a spirited case for a more flexible and globally engaged Japan. They also focus on the real problem: an absence of creative thinking in Tokyo.' --William Pesek, Bloomberg
'Japan stands at the brink of a major financial crisis... Authors John Haffner, Tomas Casas i Klett and Jean-Pierre Lehmann argue that an economic mega-shock would be helpful for the Japanese economy -- throwing it open to new ideas, investments and policies.' --'The Globalist'
'Brilliant. It analyses Japan's mistakes and possibilities of development, and it also looks at the future development of the China-Japan relationship. Sometimes onlookers at the outside are the ones who see the inside most clearly.' --Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
'The argument made by John Haffner, Tomas Casas i Klett, and Jean-Pierre Lehmann - a spirited call for an open, globally minded Japan - is certainly admirable, but I fear that there is little desire for openness and optimism among the Japanese people.' --Tobias Harris, 'Observing Japan' blog
'Tomas Casas i Klett, co-author of the excellent new book 'Japan's Open Future' warns: 'The world can digest one mercantilist super economy, but not two'.' --Dan Slater, Finance Asia
'This recent book by Haffner and others, 'Japan's Open Future'...will surely stimulate us to reconsider the Japan problem.' --The Shanghai Review of Books in 'Oriental Morning Post'
'The three Western authors question Japan's attitude, suggesting new ways forward; Japan should embrace its Asian heritage, while maintaining friendly relations with the Western world. When Japan moves from closedness to openness, it will also bear responsibility for the world's politics and global economy.' --'Social Sciences Weekly'
'This book effectively chronicles the evolution of the world's second largest economy from feudal state to nation-state to postmodern state. Recommended.' --C. J. Talele, Columbia State Community College, 'Choice'
'Adds a necessary perspective to the debate. The book provides a reminder that Japan's economic and political power should not be underestimated just because there are other rising stars in the neighborhood.' --Arudou Debito, 'Debito.org'
'Japanese people, it's time to become global citizens!' --'Wenhui Book Review'商品の説明をすべて表示する
I must confess the book sat on my shelf for a few months because I dreaded facing the reality that Japan, where I have chosen to raise my family, is fading. But once I started reading, I could not put the book down. The authors present the right balance of macro narrative and quantitative data. It is now a reference that sits next to my office desk.
My full review will come later. For now, please buy this book if you have a serious interest in Japan's future.
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But it is possible to paint a very different picture. Japan's economy has been stagnant for two decades and in many highly protected industries Japanese productivity is far below that of its principal competitors. Civil society is anaemic. Bureaucracy is sclerotic. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. The UN ranks Japan a shameful 54th in terms of gender equality. Japan (with a current population of 127 million) has produced fewer Nobel Prize winners than either Switzerland or the Netherlands. In international comparisons of English skills, Japan usually scores dismally and its education system is often accused of stifling creativity, originality and initiative. This is a side of Japan of which worldwide consumers of Toyotas, Nikons and Sonys are seldom aware.
Respectful of Japan's very considerable achievements but also honest about its significant problems, the authors of this very readable book set out to describe a better future for Japan. They argue that the country has a huge reservoir of untapped talent, that its protectionist and mercantilist policies are self-defeating, and that what they called its 'self-imposed Orientalism' blinds it to the benefits and advantages of greater exposure to foreigners. Indeed, a key thread running through this book is the extent to which Japan is still a 'closed' society. It can be accused of looking inwards, not outwards, backwards, not forwards. And its attitude to those beyond its shores is at best ambivalent, at worst disdainful.
It may be presumptuous of three foreigners to lecture Japan on its failings and to propose a vision for its future. But the tone of the book is constructive rather than critical and the authors' admiration for much of what Japan has created and achieved is obvious. Moreover, their sources are numerous, documented and reliable and their conclusions convincing. This is a well-researched book which advances a coherent argument: Japan has far more to gain from embracing change than it has to lose.
Whether coming to Japan, gaijin in Japan or Japanese(!) the agenda set by the authors needs to answered - the world and Japan will be a better place if the Japanese(politicians and people alike) take a more global perspective.
My only regret is that the book was not written a decade ago,.....?!
This is an impassioned case for a national change-of-heart in Japan. But readers will also find helpful the way it summarizes so many foreign complaints about Japan. In making their case for change, the authors argue that Japanese should:
* jettison claims to a national uniqueness (chap. 2);
* abandon national symbols like Yasukuni that offend their neighbors (chap. 1);
* learn English better (chap. 2);
* appoint more non-Japanese to university positions (chap. 2);
* open what the authors see as largely closed domestic markets (chap. 3);
* welcome risk at the corporate level in a way that the authors believe firms currently do not (chap.4);
* adopt different corporate governance regimes (chap. 4);
* change the courts in a way that the authors argue will make them a stronger check on the bureaucracy (chap. 5);
* jettison the Liberal Democratic Party (chap. 5); and
* welcome foreign immigrants (chap. 6).
Actually, Japan is a pleasant place to live precisely because it does not go the way the authors of this polemic want it to. No society is without problems, but Japan has fewer than most. It is remarkably clean and safe and well-functioning civil society. People are well-educated and more informed about the rest of the world than most foreigners give them credit for.
I like Japan precisely because it is mono-cultural. There is, so refreshingly, an almost complete absence of racial and ethnic tensions. Mass immigration would turn Japan into yet another country divided along racial and religious lines, with rising tensions and segregation. The Japanese are not stupid. They look around the world and see the consequences of people of different ethnic backgrounds and religious intolerance. They don't want that here, and who can blame them. They know that if foreigners who speak and read Japanese and have lived here for decades can't fully integrate, then there is little chance of floods of immigrants with whom they have nothing in common integrating.
Japan has a wonderful and ancient culture, the food is the best in the world, and it has a unique and robust civil society. People are generally well-behaved and polite; the streets are clean and safe; the transport system is one of the wonders of the modern world, and prices for most items of daily consumption are modest. Information is freely available, and there is open criticism of the government and politicians (but not the Imperial Household).
We do not want liberal fascists to come and mess up a well-functioning, cultured society and turn it into a plutocracy run by chancers and charlatans.
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