Learning from the Japanese Economy

Despite recent improvements, Japan today still faces some of the same structural problems that triggered its 15 year economic malaise including low productivity growth relative to the past, continuing high consumer prices for basic necessities such as food, and record post-war unemployment rates. Japan's post-war economic rise and its current relative stagnation offers students and teachers opportunities to both learn more about Japan and better understand economic concepts. Through understanding recent Japanese economic history, students gain knowledge about what causes economic growth and the relationship between economic flexibility and continuing prosperity.

Although the rise of China has major international implications, the fact that Japan remains the world's second largest economy is another important reason that it should be a topic for study in American classrooms. Also, Japan and the United States have an extensive relationship with each other. Although the United Kingdom is the leading foreign direct investor in the United States, each year Japan ranks among the top five countries in investment in this country.