The Problem of Japanese Trade Expansion in the Post-War Situation

The Problem of Japanese Trade Expansion in the Post-War Situation

The Problem of Japanese Trade Expansion in the Post-War Situation

The Problem of Japanese Trade Expansion in the Post-War Situation

Excerpt

During the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war the question of Japanese trade expansion emerged as an increasingly prominent and disturbing factor in international relations. Indeed, friction engendered by the grievances, real or imaginary, to which this question gave rise must be reckoned not least among the causes which have brought about the present crisis in the Pacific area. At present obscured by more urgent issues arising out of the hostilities in China, it remains one of the basic unsolved problems of the Far East.

Though extraordinarily complex in detail, the issues involved in the problem of Japanese trade expansion are clear enough in broad outline. Leaving out of consideration exaggerated claims and those of special interests, the essential issue may be simply stated. On the one hand there is Japan's claim that, owing to the peculiarities of her geographic, demographic and economic position, continuous expansion of her foreign trade is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of a tolerable standard of living among her people, to say nothing of improving that standard. On the other hand is the claim of Japan's neighbors that growing exports of cheap Japanese goods constitute a serious threat to established industries, desirable infant industries and existing standards of living in other countries. Is this conflict of economic nationalisms essentially irreconcilable?

Viewed in a broader perspective, the problem of adjustment raised by the economic evolution of Japan is merely part of the larger problem presented by industrially young countries whose productive powers are increasing faster than those of older industrial nations. This process is going on all over the world, and is paralleled by the rise of new industries or new producing areas within national boundaries. The international problems which it creates are not dissimilar to those presented, for example, by the shift of United States textile production from the northern to the southern states, or the rise of motor transport as a serious competitor to the American railroads. Constant readjustments, constant reallocation of capital, labor and natural . . .

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