Country Listing

Japan Table of Contents


Industries of the Future

The government remained actively involved in shaping Japan's economic future. Electronics were in the forefront in the 1980s, but the importance of other industries appeared to be rising by the end of the decade. These industries included composite materials, industrial ceramics, space development (including satellites and launch vehicles), and superconductors (and products using them, such as magnetic levitation trains). Because of the government's strong belief that such industries would be critical for the nation's future, it will likely foster active participation in these industries by Japanese firms. As these industries develop, they are also likely to become the subject of trade disputes insofar as industrial policy concerns might limit imports and result in an export push that other nations would resent. Yet because Japan is at the technological frontier with other nations in these industries, Japanese development might produce more original technologies that other nations would be eager to acquire, perhaps creating greater mutual dependence.

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Information and analysis in English on Japanese international economic relations are widely available. Excellent survey articles can be found in The Political Economy of Japan: Vol. 2, The International Dimension, edited by Takeshi Inoguchi and Daniel Okimoto. Bela Belassa and Marcus Noland's Japan in the World Economy discusses both macroeconomic and microeconomic dimensions of Japan's foreign economic relations, and Edward J. Lincoln's Japan's Unequal Trade focuses on Japanese import behavior. Each year the Ministry of International Trade and Industry publishes a review of international economic relations in its Tsusho Hakusho (Trade White Paper), abridged versions of which are available in English translation.

Current information is also available in a variety of specialized periodicals, including the Japan Economic Journal, Tokyo Business Today, Far Eastern Economic Review, and Asian Wall Street Journal.

Detailed trade and other international data are published in both Japanese and English in the Bank of Japan's Economic Statistics Annual, and the Japan Statistical Yearbook of the Prime Minister's Office. Balance of payments data are available through the Bank of Japan's Balance of Payments Monthly (which also gives annual data), and trade data are available in the Japan Tariff Association's Summary Report, Trade of Japan. More detailed trade data are provided by the Japan Tariff Association's Japan's Exports and Imports. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of January 1994