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Japanese Phoenix: The Long Road to Economic Revival [Paperback]

Richard Katz
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 2003 0765610744 978-0765610744 1st
Japan will recover and its economic achievements will once again earn the world's admiration, with sustained annual growth of three percent, perhaps more, well within reach. This is the confident forecast that begins Japanese Phoenix: The Long Road to Economic Revival by the author of Japan: The System That Soured, which several years ago accurately predicted Japan's current travails at a time when others were prematurely pronouncing full recovery. Katz warns however that there is bad news to go with the good. So deep-seated are Japan's dysfunctions that, even if it did everything right today, it would take at least five years for truly vibrant growth to take hold. But Japan will not do everything right. Opposition to reform is deep-seated and a myriad of vested interests and millions of jobs are at stake. Still he notes, there is little doubt that reform will succeed. Japanese Phoenix tells the story of the struggle between the forces of reform and the forces of resistance. It dissects Prime Minister Koizumi's role in the process, and explains why Japan is in so much trouble and what needs to be done. It explore the debates among economists and gives a careful progress report on all the moves made so far in the name of reform - from greater direct foreign investment, to the financial "Big Bang", to ending one-party rule by the Liberal Democratic Party. Katz concludes that this is just the second round of a 15-round fight. Japan is a great nation currently trapped in obsolete institutions. As it has before, Japan will find a way to surmount its problems and regain its forward progress.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: M E Sharpe Inc; 1st edition (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765610744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765610744
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,178,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The author provides excellent insights why the Japanese economy faltered. The economic miracle of the eighties did not grow much after 1989. He suggests economic reforms that would restore sustainable economic growth. But, he indicates such reforms are unlikely until Japan reforms its political system first. This means splitting the powerful LDP into two parties. This will not happen shortly. But, the building pressure for political reform as a result of the ongoing faltering economy is immense. Thus, Mr. Katz is confident it will happen.
Abstract: Japan has gone from experiencing the "Japanese miracle" in the eighties to being in the economic doghouse since 1989. During the eighties, Japan economy grew at 4% per year with little inflation and unemployment. During the nineties, Japan experienced no economic growth, suffered deflation due to weak consumer demand; and. its share of World GDP and World exports shrunk. Japan sustainable growth rate has decreased from 4% in the eighties to only 1% in 2000, on its way to only 0.5% by 2010. Japan?s GDP grew by only 0.3% per annum since 1997. Why did this economic decline occurr? There are really two Japanese economies. One consists of the super efficient exporting industries, including automobiles and consumer electronics. The other consists of the much larger domestic sector which employs 80% of labor force. The domestic sector is protected from competition by an anticompetitive regulatory environment that allows price collusion and restricts all imports. This sector includes food processing, retailing, wholesaling , finance, farming, and other services. Within these domestic industries, Japan?s productivity is between 50% to 66% lower than in the U.S.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars old vinegar in a new bottle October 1, 2005
Books on the Japanese economy should follow a reasonably simple format. Having first explained the conflicting objectives of Japan's policy makers, they should then outline the constraints the policy makers face in meeting those objectives and, finally, they should discuss the monetary and fiscal options available to Japan's policy makers in trying to reach their objectives. That basic framework should serve as the scaffolding around which authors propound their various prognoses for the Japanese economy.

Richard Katz, Senior Editor of The Oriental Economist Report, a monthly newsletter on Japan, takes a different approach in Japanese Phoenix: The Long Road to Economic Revival, his recently published book. Instead of approaching the Japanese economy in this systematic way, he seems to have merely gathered together several dozen of his articles from The Oriental Economist and collated them into a book. The result is a very uneven, disjointed and disappointing work that has little of substance to offer the reader.

His rosary of disjointed articles put too much weight on the reforming zeal of recent prime ministers such as Junichiro Koizumi and the late Keizo Obuchi. He believes that Koizumi, like some hero in a manga comic, can single handedly turn the economy around and restore Japan's former growth rates. The reality is much more prosaic. Because Koizumi, like so many of his predecessors, is a prisoner of the outmoded structure of the Japanese economy, he is no more likely to effect fundamental change than they were.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Information on Japan March 25, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author seems very knowlegeabl on Japan, how it got to be an economic superpower and the recent decade of stagnation. Gives you a quick overview of both. It seems sad that such creative people are mired in a horrible slump out of which they can not come out unless they change the way the think. A must book for anyone who wants to know why Japan is in such a sad state.
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