It seems that a day does not pass without the mention of 'globalization'. While a panoply of pundits and researchers have sought to come to grips with its varied manifestations, few writers have focused on Japan, which still remains the second most powerful economy in the world despite a decade of economic stagnation. It was with the aim of promoting an understanding of the political economy of Japanese globalization that, from 20 to 22 March 1998, the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield, in collaboration with the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) in Kyoto, held an international symposium on the 'Global Meaning of Japan'. The chapters making up this volume were originally presented at this symposium. All have been revised in light of the comments made by the participants, the editors, and by Routledge's anonymous referees. We would like to thank the contributors for revising their chapters in light of these comments and for the participants and referees for making them.
We would like to thank Professors Ishii Shirō and Kimura Hiroshi of Nichibunken for their cooperation in the successful hosting of the symposium. For financial support, we owe a particular debt of gratitude to the Japan Foundation, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Nichibunken and Chūbū Electric Power Company.
Finally, following Japanese convention, the names in the text and notes are given with the family name first followed by the given name. In writings in English, however, the given name is followed by the family name. Except for place names such as Tokyo and names of institutions translated into English, all long vowels are indicated by a macron.