1st Edition

Examining Japan's Lost Decades

Edited By Yoichi Funabashi, Barak Kushner Copyright 2015
    338 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    372 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines five features of Japan’s ‘Lost Decades’: the speed of the economic decline in Japan compared to Japan’s earlier global prowess; a rapidly declining population; considerable political instability and failed reform attempts; shifting balances of power in the region and changing relations with Asian neighbouring nations; and the lingering legacy of World War Two. Addressing the question of why the decades were lost, this book offers 15 new perspectives ranging from economics to ideology and beyond. Investigating problems such as the risk-averse behaviour of Japan’s bureaucracy and the absence of strong political leadership, the authors analyse how the delay of ‘loss-cutting policies’ led to the 1997 financial crisis and a state of political gridlock where policymakers could not decide on firm strategies that would benefit national interests.

    To discuss the rebuilding of Japan, the authors argue that it is first essential to critically examine Japan’s ‘Lost Decades’ and this book offers a comprehensive overview of Japan’s recent 20 years of crisis. The book reveals that the ‘Lost Decades’ is not an issue unique to the Japanese context but has global relevance, and its study can provide important insights into challenges being faced in other mature economies. With chapters written by some of the world’s leading Japan specialists and chapters focusing on a variety of disciplines, this book will be of interest to students and scholars in the areas of Japan studies, Politics, International Relations, Security Studies, Government Policy and History.

    Preface Introduction Chapter 1: Japan’s Demographic Collapse and the Vanishing Provinces Seike Atsushi Chapter 2: Monetary and Fiscal Policies During the Lost Decades Kenneth Kuttner, Iwaisako Tokuo, and Adam Posen Chapter 3: The Two "Lost Decades" and Macroeconomics: Changing Economic Policies Kobayashi Keiichirō Chapter 4: The Curse of "Japan, Inc." and Japan’s Microeconomic Competitiveness Chapter 5: Making Sense of the Lost Decades: Workplaces and Schools, Men and Women, Young and Old, Rich and Poor Andrew Gordon Chapter 6: The Two Lost Decades in Education: The Failure of Reform Kariya Takehiko Chapter 7: The Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Lost Opportunities and the "Safety Myth" Kitazawa Koichi Chapter 8: The Last Two Decades in Japanese Politics: Lost Opportunities and Undesirable Outcomes Machidori Satoshi Chapter 9: The Gulf War and Japan’s National Security Identity Michael J. Green and Igata Akira Chapter 10: Foreign Economic Policy Strategies and Economic Performance Peter Drysdale and Shiro Armstrong Chapter 11: Japan’s Asia/Asia-Pacific Policy in Flux Shiraishi Takashi Chapter 12: Okinawa Bases and the U.S.-Japan Alliance  Sheila A. Smith Chapter 13: Japanese Historical Memory Tōgo Kazuhiko Chapter 14: Japan’s Failed Bid for a Permanent Seat on the UN Security Council  Akiyama Nobumasa Chapter 15: The Stakeholder State: Ideology and Values in Japan’s Search for a Post-Cold War Global Role G. John Ikenberry Conclusion: Something has been "lost" from our future Funabashi Yoichi


    Yoichi Funabashi is Chairman of the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, Japan. Barak Kushner is Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, UK.

    The world is still trying to understand what went on in Japan's "Lost Decades," a topic that has become all the more relevant as much of the west succumbs to Japan-style problems of deflation and low growth. This collection of essays by experts in their field will help the reader pick through this important subject. For readers seeking to understand Japan and for ones wondering whether "Japanization" is coming to a country near them, this should prove a fascinating read.  

    David Pilling, Financial Times

    This book contains a superb and timely collection of essays on the troubles Japan has been having, economically and politically, since the 1990s. The period coincides with the ending of the Cold War and the acceleration of economic globalization. The studies show how a nation that seemed to fare so well during the Cold War has stagnated in a globalizing world. As the editors note, Japan's example could be followed by other countries and deserves serious attention.

    Akira Iriye, Harvard University, USA