Economic Growth of Japan with Special Reference to Industrial Development
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Japan’s economic success has been a characteristic of the second half of the twentieth century. Its industrial revolution took 120 years whereas Britain took nearly twice that period to become a major industrial nation. Industrialisation proceeded fairly rapidly because Japan built on Western innovation, while at the same time striving to eliminate the mistakes of the Western countries. What makes the growth of the economy more remarkable is a background of extreme resource scarcity. Japan is poorly endowed with most resources. That the Japanese were able to assemble many raw materials from every comer of the world makes their achievement spectacular. This paper examines the growth of the Japanese economy. Special reference is paid to industrial growth and the changing character of industries in response to changing demand. Initially an outline of Japan’s physical environment is presented to show the limited resources available for industrialisation, as well as the perils posed by Japan’s physical environment. The section that follows presents a survey of the growth of Japan’s economy from pre-Meiji times (before 1868) to the 1990s. In this, Japan’s economic growth is assessed in terms of Rostow’s model of economic development. The paper concludes with a description of some of the problems currently facing the Japanese economy.