Last update (June 6, 2017)

The Japanese Economy             
by Prof. Hiroshi Shibuya


1. Course Objective and Method

The objective of this course is to study the cause of successes and failures of the Japanese economy, and to learn innovative public policies and corporate management for creating a better and prosperous society. To achieve this objective, we examine the past history and the present problems Japan faces, and project the future course Japan could take. We study Japan in comparison to other countries as well as in the context of the world economy. The main method of learning comprises historical data analysis, case studies, and classroom discussions.

2. Course Goals

To learn the history of the Japanese economy
To learn the problems Japan faces today
To learn the characteristics of Japanese corporation and management
To learn innovative public policies and corporate management for creating a better and prosperous society from the Japanese experience of successes and failures
To learn important lessons for making a successful transformation from a catching-up economy to a leading-the-way innovative society.


3.   Course Contents

1.  Introduction
2.  An Overview of Japan's Economic Growth
3.  A Brief History of the Japanese Economy: Successes and Failures
4.  Current Problems Japan Faces Today : Slow Growth and Demography
5.  Japan's Fiscal and Monetary Policies (including “Abenomics”)
6.  The Cause of Japan's Lost Decades
7.  Three Stages of Economic Development: Commercial, Industrial, and Innovative
8.  From a Catching-Up Economy To a Leading-the-Way Innovative Society
9.  Japanese Corporation and Management: Cooperation or Collectivism
10. How to Stimulate Innovation and Improve Productivity
11. Japan in the World Economy: International Trade and Finance

4.   Teaching Materials

The class will make use of the PowerPoint materials (Chapters 1-11) that I have created from a variety of original Japanese and English sources. Their pdf files (to be updated in 2017) are as follows:

Chapter 1 (last update April 15, 2017)
Chapter 2 (last update May 7, 2017)
Chapter 3 (last update May 14, 2017)
Chapter 4 (last update May 31, 2017)
Chapter 5 (last update June 4, 2017)
Chapter 6 (last update June 18, 2017)
Chapter 7 (last update June 25, 2017)
Chapter 8 (last update July 3, 2017)
Chapter 9 (last update July 10, 2017)
Chapter 10
Chapter 11

Although most of the useful references are available only in Japanese, here is a short list of English books on the Japanese economy:


David Flath, The Japanese Economy, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2014.
Takatoshi Ito, The Japanese Economy, MIT Press, 1991.
Takafusa Nakamura, The Postwar Japanese Economy: Its Development and Structure, 1937-1994, University of Tokyo Press, 1995.
Mituru Taniguchi, The Japanese Economy: Then, Now and Beyond, Gale Asia, 2014.

5.   Grading

Grades will be determined based on assignment, attendance, and contributions to the class through discussion.

Assignment: Submit a short research paper on the general or a specific topic of each chapter (from Chapter 2).

Submit all assignments by July 31 in the box at the door of my office (539)

Approximately, Assignment (70), Attendance (30), and Class Contribution (+ alpha)

6.  Remarks

No advanced knowledge of economic theory is required beyond the basic knowledge of introductory economics. Additional and updated information will be made available as I add more materials and references for the course.