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The internationalization of Japan.

The 17 chapters of this volume are selected from 28 papers presented in Septembcr 1989 to a general (non-specialist) audience on the 25th anniversary of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield, England. The editors are senior staff members at the Center; the majority of the papers are authored or co-authored by visitors from Japan.

"Internationalization" processes usually work in two or more directions, but the emphasis here is on their effects for various Japanese institutions, as distinguished from the growth of "Japan-consciousness" in the rest of the world. Individual chapters deal with topics in history, politics, sociology, and education, along with economics and business. The six chapters in two of the book's seven sections have substantial economic content. These constitute Part 3 (Chapters 6-8) on "Japan and the World Economy" and Part 5 (Chapters 11-13) on "Labor Markets and Migrant Workers." The present review concentrates on these two parts, although many chapters in other sections are well worth interdisciplinary or semi-professional reading. This reviewer's recommendations would be Part 1, comparisons with the earlier internationalizations of Britain (by Professor Andrew Gamble of Sheffield) and of America (by Professor Richard Falk of Princeton), Part 6 on "Education and the Individual," and Chapter 3 on internationalization and inter-dependence in the large, by Ms. Sadako Ogata (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees).

Professor Ippei Yamazawa (Hitotsubashi) leads off the international economics section with a trade-policy chapter stressing the importance of maintaining international harmony. Mr. Katsuzo Sakamoto (Daiwa Securities) collaborates with Mr. Richard Conquest on Japanese capital exports, and Professor Koichi Shimakawa (Hosei) presents a case study of the internationalization of the Japanese automobile industry.

These are three very different papers. Yamazawa is an apologetic free-trader of a compromising kind not uncommon on Japanese campuses. His paper is a gem of academic diplomacy in regretting Japan's numerous lapses from trade freedom without casting blame or pointing fingers at any particular Japanese persons, groups, or organizations. The Sakamoto-Conquest paper chronicles the rise of Japan to a position of global creditor nation, and raises the possibility of the yen taking over the dominant role in world money markets exercised previously by sterling and yen by the dollar. (The paper seems somewhat dated already; a longish Japanese recession began three months after its presentation!) As for Professor Shimakawa's contribution, this reviewer had anticipated concentration on the Japanese auto industry's "tariff factories" in Europe and America, but it stresses the industry's operations in Korea and Southeast Asia, about which much less is known in the West. (This paper is the best in the book for assembly and presentation of unfamiliar statistical data.)

Western discussion of Japan's economic internationalization can be faulted for limiting itself almost exclusively to the output markets in which Japan competes with ourselves, to the near-complete exclusion of unskilled labor factor markets which involve almost entirely countries of South and Southeast Asia. As in Britain, America, and Western Europe (now most particularly Germany), the "internationalization" is the largely-illegal and largely-undocumented migration from low-wage countries, which tends to evolve into foreign communities which are slow to assimilate or be assimilated, and which seek to infiltrate higher skill levels and white-collar occupations where native labor is in surplus. Special Japanese problems are that all unskilled labor immigration is illegal, and that the Japanese-born offspring of immigrants have no automatic citizenship rights. The consequences of these differences are explored by Ms. Yoko Selleck and Professor Michael Weiner (Sheffield). Professor Ryuhei Hatsuse (Kobe) suggests a "reciprocity" policy, balancing unskilled labor immigration into Japan against Japanese managerial immigration into various Asian countries. In practice, such reciprocity would seem either to continue the ban of immigration into Japan or flood Southeast Asia with unwanted Japanese managerial types in "unfair competition" with the native-born. The third paper of this section, by Professor Kazuo Nimura (Hosei) sample the attitudes of various Japanese trade unions and labor federations toward the immigration of foreign workers. These unions do a better job than Western ones of disguising their fears of immigrant competition by hypocritical (?) concern, at least in union publications, with the civil rights and labor standards of the immigrant - which are often both sub-standard and miserable. Of course, if high standards should eliminate the demand for immigrant labor, so much the better, as neither the union documents cited nor Professor Nimura himself will tell us.

Omitted from the published record of the conferences are the various commentaries on the papers, mentioned as also having been presented at Sheffield in 1989. The entire volume is dedicated to two leading Japanese internationalists, both present at the original ceremonies but both deceased while the book was in press - Mr. Haruo Maekawa (Bank of Japan) and Professor Nobuya Bamba (Osaka).
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Author:Bronfenbrenner, Martin
Publication:Southern Economic Journal
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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