The Japanese Economy

Hiroaki Richard Watanabe

£60.00  |  $90.00
ISBN 9781788210508
£16.99  |  $25.00
ISBN 9781788210515
£16.99  |  $25.00
ISBN 9781788211840
208 pages   |  234 x 156mm   |  28 May 2020


"The Japanese Economy provides a brief but compelling account of the history of Japan’s political economy. While it deals with almost all significant issues based on academic research in each period, it conveys non-technical narratives that can be read by those with a general interest in Japan. In short, readers without much knowledge of Japan could understand the country’s economy over two decades as it went from economic miracle to prolonged recession." – Kwang-Yeong Shin, Journal of Contemporary Asia


Although still the world’s third largest economy, Japan continues to feel the effects of the collapse of a massive asset price bubble in the early 1990s. In recent years further setbacks, including both the Asian and global financial crises, and the 2011 Fukushima earthquake, have only added to the economy’s difficulties and made its prospects under Abenomics at best mixed.

Hiroaki Richard Watanabe examines the ups and downs of Japan’s postwar economic history to offer an up-to-date and authoritative guide to the workings of Japan’s economy. The book highlights the country’s distinct business networks and its unique state–market relationship. It explores the characteristic institutional complementarity that exists among different sectors and business practices and gives particular attention to human factors, such as labour market dualism, gender discrimination and migration. Although often associated in western minds with futuristic automated efficiency, Japan’s economy, Watanabe shows, retains many inefficient and peculiar business practices that do not comply with global standards.

The book provides readers with a concise survey of Japan’s recent economic history, the economy’s characteristic features and the challenges it faces.


1. Introducing the Japanese economy
2. The formation of the postwar Japanese economy, 1945–90
3. The transformation of the Japanese economy since the early 1990s
4. The structure of the Japanese economy
5. The human and labour factors of the Japanese economy
6. A distinctive Japanese economic feature: “Galapagos syndrome”
7. Conclusion: Prospects and challenges for the Japanese economy

Author Information

Hiroaki Richard Watanabe is a Professor in the Graduate School of International Relations at Ritsumeikan University, Japan. He was formerly a lecturer in the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield. His books include Labour Market Deregulation in Japan and Italy (Routledge, 2014).

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