The story of Japan’s miraculous rise as the second largest economy in the world after the United States began in the 1960s. It took approximately 50 years for Japan to successfully double its living standards after the World War II.
Japan’s membership to the World Bank and to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1952 helped to finance much of its infrastructure and economic development. Its sheer perseverance, determination, and dedication in its post-war reconstruction efforts paid off handsomely. Indeed that was the “Made in Japan” era when Japan set the global standard of producing quality products at a much lower cost than its western counterparts.
For Japan to continue to command economic presence in Asia, it cannot rest on its laurels. It must continue with its plan to upgrade its economy and relentlessly plan the “big brother” role for its Asian counterparts. It has to sustain its high economic boom that depends on industrialization and heavy exports, coupled with high technology in high-value-added industries, such as industrial robots, computers, and semiconductors.
At the same time, Japan has its fair share of challenges with rising costs, an increasing aging population, and low fertility rate. It is predicted that by 2020, its youth population (aged 20–34 years old) will decrease by 31 percent.2 The eyes of the world are on Japan watching how it deals with these challenges while working toward its economic goals.