1st Edition

Japan’s Secular Stagnation and Beyond

Edited By Radhika Desai, Makoto Itoh, Nobuharu Yokokawa Copyright 2023

    This book re-visits the phenomenon of Japanese secular stagnation in light of the fate of the North Atlantic and developing economies and places it in a longer historical political and geopolitical economy of capitalism from a variety of political and disciplinary perspectives.

    Japanese capitalism, which was once an admired model of miraculous growth with a relatively egalitarian distribution of income, fell into secular stagnation in the early 1990s. The phenomenon has since fascinated observers, provoked debates, provided policy advocates with grist for the mills of a range of policy proposals, some of them mutually contradictory, and, most importantly, burdened an entire population, and particularly its young. Japan’s secular stagnation has raised new questions about policy difficulties on a range of fronts – dramatically lowered growth rate despite comparatively high investment, deteriorating labor conditions, rising class and gender inequality, a profound and many-faceted crisis of social reproduction and a deepening fiscal crisis of the state – all of which have important international ramifications. Moreover, interest in and the importance of Japan’s secular stagnation grew rapidly after 2008 as many have sought to understand the economic malaise of the North Atlantic by analogy and comparison with all or parts of the Japanese condition. The introduction and chapters in this book attempt to understand the causes, character and consequence of that original affliction. They also reflect on the meaning of Japan’s secular stagnation at this stage of development capitalism. The result contains the key to understanding the more widespread economic malaise of our time.

    This book will be a beneficial read for researchers and scholars of Economics and Politics interested in Japanese Studies as well as the Japanese political economy. Most of the chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of The Japanese Political Economy. The last chapter was originally published in the Journal of Contemporary Asia.

    Introduction: Japan’s secular stagnation and the American mirror

    Radhika Desai

    1. Japanese capitalism in multiple crises

    Makoto Itoh

    2. Wolfgang Streeck in Tokyo: Japan’s secular stagnation as a delayed crisis of democratic capitalism

    Myles Carroll

    3. Secular stagnation: real problems and statistical illusions

    James Galbraith

    4. Beyond secular stagnation: A digital and green economy?

    D. Hugh Whittaker

    5. Reflections on compressed development: Time and timing in economic and social development

    Nobuharu Yokokawa

    6. Re-emergence of Asia and the Rise and Fall of the Japanese Economy in Super Long Waves of Capitalist World Systems

    Nobuharu Yokokawa


    Radhika Desai is Professor at the Department of Political Studies and Director of Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. She is the author of several books including Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire (2013) and Capitalism, Coronavirus and War: A Geopolitical Economy (2022).

    Makoto Itoh was Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo and a Member of the Japan Academy. He has taught widely at many universities, including the New School for Social Research, New York University, Cambridge University and London University. His books include Value and Crisis, and The Japanese Economy Reconsidered.

    Nobuharu Yokokawa is a Fellow of Musashi Institute for Social Sciences and an Emeritus Professor at Musashi University, Tokyo. He is Editor-in-Chief of The Japanese Political Economy and has published widely on the topics of political economy, evolutionary economics, economic history and development economics.