Kawari: How Japan's Economic and Cultural Transformation Will Alter the Balance of Power among Nations

Kawari: How Japan's Economic and Cultural Transformation Will Alter the Balance of Power among Nations

Kawari: How Japan's Economic and Cultural Transformation Will Alter the Balance of Power among Nations

Kawari: How Japan's Economic and Cultural Transformation Will Alter the Balance of Power among Nations

Synopsis

A noted asset manager and Japan analyst describes how Japan is taking steps toward renewed economic growth and securing a place in the new world order. He predicts that recent changes such as expansion of manufacturing facilities abroad and dependence on foreign labor will necessitate an aggressive new foreign policy and an active new military.

Excerpt

This book is about change in Japan. the Japanese word in the title, kawari, literally means "change" or "alternative." I had wanted to use another Japanese word, dappi, which means "metamorphosis," the change that occurs when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, and also when a people suddenly shift their way of thinking or proceeding. But dappi sounded too strange to Western ears to use as a title. Nonetheless, this is what is happening in Japan. She is transforming herself into something that is totally different from the country we know today. Her transformation will affect people well beyond her borders, in Asia more than other parts of the world, but given the reach of Japan's economy and her potential diplomatic and military power, everyone on the planet will feel Japan's metamorphosis in some way.

I have tried to keep a practical tone throughout. the book identifies powerful, impersonal forces that will alter the cultural and economic face of Japan. It describes the directions of this change and the huge risks attached to the transition. the book takes a Japanese perspective, and describes the new Japan that will emerge as her government, businesses, and people wrestle with the practical imperatives facing them. Most of my references are to newspaper items and Japanese sources. There are enough references to Western sources, however, to let the reader know where Japan-watchers stand in the debate.

Unlike much Western writing on Asia, this book resists the temptation to create a false contest between Japan and the West, or to use Japan as a foil for America, or as an object lesson. There are no heroes, no villains. the book refuses to declare Japan a winner or a loser. Nothing outside a sports arena is that clear cut, and relations between nations are not football matches. Nor are they a "zero sum game." One nation does not necessarily succeed at the expense of others. Indeed, prosperity in one place frequently brings prosperity elsewhere.

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