Japan is an island nation that is made up of 6,852 islands and located along the Pacific Ocean and covers a total area of 377, 944 sq. meters. The country has a population of 127, 960,000 which is the 10th largest population in the world. Japan is one of the most developed countries not only industrially, but also economically, militarily and is one the most advanced nations in application of science and technology. The nation’s economy is the second largest in the world and its industrial capacity is not questionable as it is home to some of the largest and most technologically advanced industries such as Toyota, Sony, Honda, Panasonic, Sharp, Canon and Toshiba, among many others. Several scholars have questioned Japan’s secrets of success, especially in their recovery from the recent triple disaster that hit the nation: earthquake, tsunami and leakage of radioactive material.
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One of the secrets to Japan’s success is that the nation’s people are hard workers. The average working hours of Japanese workers is approximately 204 hours in a month and this exceeds other economically advanced nations by a significant margin, for instance, in America, the average working hours per month is 163, 159 in UK, 155 in Germany and 140 in France. While workers in other nations require 47 days to produce a car, Japanese workers can complete the same task in 9 days.
Moreover, a single Japanese employee can complete a task that would normally be done by 5-6 people in other countries (Roskin and Berry, 2010). Therefore, in the middle of a disaster, the Japanese obviously multiplied their effort and this led to a quick recovery from the triple disaster. Furthermore, the willingness to improve working and managerial methods is a concept that is deeply founded among the Japanese and was based on Confucianism.
The Japanese are focused, industrious, and diligent, and have a strong sense of loyalty while performing their duties. The employees have a deep sense of running their systems in an orderly manner and it is not common for the Japanese to move between jobs as is the case in the US and Europe. Rather, they normally commit to one or two companies until they reach retirement age. In fact, some Japanese firms recruit fresh graduates, train them to their own specific requirements, and commit them to their companies. Loyalty combined with hard work has enabled the Japanese to stay ahead of most nations in the world despite having only a few natural resources.
Another strategy that has been adopted by the Japanese is their embrace of innovation in all that they do. Interestingly, the tape cassette player was invented by Phillips Electronics, a Dutch company, but the Japanese employed their innovativeness and converted the idea of the cassette player into a portable media device, the Sony Walkman. Sony has sold millions of Walkman products and continues to produce several products based on the original Walkman concept
The Japanese’ embrace of technology has seen them become one of the leading nations in the application of science and technology. The nation is home to several major multinational companies that include automobile and media. In fact, the use of technology and innovation was very evident as the nation struggled to contain the nuclear leak from the Fukushima plant and in its recovery from the devastating earthquake.
The Japanese have always been an economic powerhouse and have recovered from major tragedies, including the 1945 dropping of atomic bombs during WWII (Scott, 2004), and recently during the triple disasters mentioned earlier. These strategies, or secrets, are still as applicable as they were a century ago and this is evidenced by the nation’s continued excellent economic performance in the global arena.
Roskin, M. G., and Berry, N. O. (2010). The New World of International Relations, Eighth Ed. NY: Longman.
Scott, G. M., Jones, R. J., and Furmanski, L. (2004). Debated Issues in World Politics, Second Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.