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Japan’s Period of Affluence Essay


The rapid growth of the Japanese economy in the period between 1955 and 1973 remains as one of the unprecedented developments in the history Japan. During this period, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) experienced an average annual growth of 9.1 percent. Within a short period, Japan went from post-war ruins to industrial magnificence. The country also received stature as one of the world’s leading economies. This success story has the input of various stakeholders but the central government is often given the most credit for this economic miracle. Some of the most significant inputs of the Japanese government include fostering cooperation between the government and the private sector. For example, “civil servants in organizations like the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, it has been argued, worked closely with the business community to chart strategic plans for economic development and deftly guide the nation’s industrial and financial advance” (Okimoto 42). The government can take most of the credit for Japan’s ‘economic miracle’ because it created a perpetual developmental state by making sure that all industrial policies were designed to stimulate growth.

The year 1964 was the turning point for Japan as the country hosted the Olympic Games. After the successful hosting of these games, Japan was able to convince the world that it was once more an economically confident nation. The international factors that contributed to rapid economic growth include existence of favorable conditions for development. For example, during this period it was easy for the country to obtain technology and entry into various international markets. The country was also able to impact trade policies that protected the domestic markets while pursuing elaborate export breakthroughs. Other observers point out that Japan’s non-committal stance during the Cold War provided it with a window of prosperity while other countries were facing immense uncertainties.

The affluence of Japan in the late twentieth century came with several benefits including the income-doubling plan. Through this initiative, the government brought down the interest rates and gave tax incentives to private players with a view of raising the level of spending. Consequently, investors were the main beneficiaries in Japan’s rapid economic development because there was room for wealth creation. Other benefits came from the fact that the government embarked on massive investments that included infrastructure projects. Eventually, Japan was transformed into a developed country leading to a comfortable life for its citizens. The managed-economy mode of operation in Japan contributed to various benefits for a wide range of demographics.

Another impact of Japan’s economic prosperity was the liberalization of trade. Nevertheless, liberalization efforts were met with opposition by the public, which felt that this would re-introduce imperialism. The battle between domestic and foreign capital was a source of ideological conflict in Japan for a long time until the situation normalized in the late 1960s. The economic miracle of Japan also had a number of losers who ended up being forgotten amid the celebrations. The main disadvantaged groups included the educated work force and large organizations. First, the workers were expected to work for long hours and they were practically expected to ‘worship’ their superiors. Rules for workers were also rigid and inhuman. The large companies mainly suffered from the government’s manipulation and over-involvement.

Work Cited

Okimoto, Daniel. Between MITI and the Market: Japanese Industrial Policy for High Technology. Stanford University Press, 1999.

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 3). Japan’s Period of Affluence. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/japans-period-of-affluence/

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"Japan’s Period of Affluence." IvyPanda, 3 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/japans-period-of-affluence/.

1. IvyPanda. "Japan’s Period of Affluence." September 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/japans-period-of-affluence/.


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IvyPanda. "Japan’s Period of Affluence." September 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/japans-period-of-affluence/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Japan’s Period of Affluence." September 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/japans-period-of-affluence/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Japan’s Period of Affluence'. 3 September.

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