Why Is Japan So Rich?
[INTRO] These are 5 pictures of Tokyo put together to form a panorama. They were taken in the 1860s. At the same time cities like London, Paris, and New York looked like this.
With factories, steamboats, and railroads. While industrialisation was in full swing in Western Europe and North America, Japan was essentially still a medieval society with lords called daimyō, knightly orders such as samurai, and feudal houses. Yet just 80 years later Japan had cars, trams, trains, aircraft carriers, cargo ships, and a vast colonial empire. By the 1940s the average Japanese was about as rich as the average Italian. It was the first country that managed to catch up with the developed nations of its time and became an example for others to follow.
Countries like Korea, Taiwan, or Greece looked at Japan as an example of how they could do the same. And this is a trend Japan has had for over 100 years: it’s often ahead of other countries and the world looks at Japan to see how they have to fix their own issues. It is therefore important to learn Japanese history to better understand our own futures. So how did they do it? Well, in this video we will look at the rise and fall and rise of Japan. [PRE-PERRY] The time before Japan’s industrialisation is called the Tokugawa period. And in this period Japan isolated itself from the rest of the world: its people weren’t allowed to leave Japan, most foreigners were banned, and foreign trade was heavily restricted.
But they didn’t seclude themselves entirely: here in southern Japan in Nagasaki they allowed Dutch ships to trade with Japan, it had established embassies with Korea, and Japan would often buy various texts on the latest inventions from foreigners. For example, Look at this design for a clock made in Japan in the late 18th century, using Dutch texts on modern technologies like clockworks to make clocks themselves. And by the 1850s Japan had their own clock based on the Japanese calendar used at the time. Japan was isolated, yet fully aware of the outside world. Such as in 1852 when the Dutch informed them that a fleet of warships was sent to Japan from the USA.
They arrived the next year with fully-armed steam-powered battleships. They carried special cannons able to shoot explosive shells, which were specially designed to set wooden structures on fire… and it just so happened that the Japanese capital was almost entirely built of wooden houses. The US commander gave a list of demands to Japan, diplomatically informed the government that he would return in 1 year, and if Japan didn’t agree to the US demands that their capital would be fired upon.
[NOTE TO AUDIO EDITOR: WHEN TALKING ABOUT CANNONS FIRING HAVE CHEKOVSKI MUSIC WITH THE CANNONS IN THE BACKGROUND AND MAKE SURE THAT THE CANNONS FIRE WHEN TALKING ABOUT CANNONFIRE] Japan had built defenses around its capital for decades, to prevent exactly this from happening. But because Japan never industrialized, their cannons had a shorter range than those of western powers. And so foreign ships could simply stay outside of Japan’s striking range and bombard their cities from a safe distance. This realization was very scary to the island nation. Then a month after the US ships left, the Russians arrived with their own battleships and made very similar demands. Followed shortly after by a British fleet who also told Japan “I’ll be back”.
But WHY were all these countries suddenly showing up in Japan in the 1850s? Well, look at this map showing US trade routes in the 19th century. There is a lot of trade in manufactured goods with Europe, slave trade with West Africa… But if you look at trade routes going to East Asia you will notice something interesting. A lot of them were going around Africa rather than going through the pacific. This is in large part because the Pacific Ocean is so big and there were very few ports between the USA and China, making it hard to restock your supplies. And if there was no wind you would be stuck in the middle of the ocean with no support. But luckily, then the steamship was invented.
It became possible to proper a ship using coal. But there was one problem: ships would often run out of coal within 2 weeks. So if you wanted to cross the Pacific ocean reliably, you needed ports all along your route to refuel every week or so. And Japan was located right next to China. So the USA argued that if they could travel from North America to all the US colonies in the pacific, and eventually make it to Japan then they could reliably send cargoships to trade with China. And China had just lost the Opium Wars and was forced to allow foreigners to have essentially unlimited trade with the gigantic Chinese market.
So China was seen as the next big market for global trade and EVERYBODY wanted in on it. But in order to trade, everybody needed coal for their trade ships. And so they all came to Japan with the following idea: If these European and North American nations could force Japan to sell coal to their trade ships, then it would allow them to travel to Chinese ports a bit easier, earning them more money. Japan just so happened to have a lot of coal and was located right next to US trade routes going to China and European trade routes going to Northern China. So in essence, the reason everybody came to Japan in 1853-54 was because they all wanted to make trade with China a little bit more profitable.
They didn’t care about Japan itself, only their coal. So let’s look at this from the Japanese perspective: for the last century foreigners would every so often arrive in Japan and Japan would send them away again, such as in 1778 when the Russians requested a trade treaty, only to be refused and sent home. Or in 1808 when a British ship was hunting a Dutch ship, went to a Japanese harbor, only to be chased away by Japanese warships. Or take 1837 when the US wanted to open trade and return some shipwrecked Japanese sailors, only to be fired upon and forced to turn back. But now, these foreigners had ships so powerful they could set whole cities on fire while not a single Japanese cannon could hit back. This was a complete and total disaster for the Japanese government: they could either choose to be set on fire or be forced to end their isolation.
And they chose the 2nd option. In total, Japan was forced to sign 11 treaties with different European and North American powers. In general, these treaties allowed the foreign powers to establish an embassy in Japan, certain ports would be opened to trade, foreigners were allowed to live and work in certain Japanese cities without restriction, foreigners didn’t have to abide by Japanese laws, if they did break any laws they would be sent to a special court of their own country rather than a Japanese court, and Japan wouldn’t be allowed to levy taxes on foreign trade. Just imagine if your country was forced to sign such a treaty: foreigners could break any laws they wanted to, your government wasn’t allowed to decide its own tax policies, and you weren’t even allowed to say who was and wasn’t allowed to enter your country anymore. These treaties were a complete and total humiliation for Japan and showed that their own government was too incompetent to protect its own country.
For 15 years this resentment grew as the government was forced to sign one humiliating treaty after another. Until in 1868 the government was overthrown. The old leadership had failed their country and the new one would set things right. [Meiji Restoration] The emperor was to have greater power in this new government, called Emperor Meiji. This era was named after him and is therefore called the Meiji Restoration. This new government essentially had only one goal: survive.
They did not want to end up like the Aztecs, Indians, or Ottomans; beaten, colonized, and divided amongst foreign powers. They were determined that Japan. Will. Be. Independent… But how!? Well, look at this steam engine. It was designed by a Japanese inventor named Tanaka Hisashige in 1853.
When the Russians came to Japan to demand a trade agreement, they showed a demonstration of an engine. Mr Tanaka used a few Dutch reference books and managed to construct his very own steam engine, the first one ever created in Japan. He would later improve upon the design to create the first Japanese-made locomotive and steam-powered warship. His workshop was turned into an engineering company, which merged with another business in 1939 to form a new corporation that you might have heard of: Toshiba. But why is this story important? Well, according to the Japanese leadership the reason that other powers could trample on Japan’s rights as a nation was because of their technological superiority.
So if Japan wanted to remain independent, it had to adopt those new technologies themselves. And so Japan set itself the ambitious goal of catching up with the technologically advanced nations of Western Europe and North America. And they would do so by copying as many western institutions as possible: they abandoned isolationism, from now on foreigners and foreign ideas would be welcomed; they created a central government; and they would create an economic development plan to Make Japan Great Again. Now, today we have various economic models for developing countries to become wealthy, from China, to the Soviet Union, to Greece. But Japan was the first and had to figure everything out on their own.
So the first thing they did was look at what was available to them. And there was a thing Japan had a great abundance of: entrepreneurs. People like Tanaka Hisashige who had the knowledge and drive to create a modern industry in Japan.
These professionals often didn’t have enough money to build a factory. As a pre-industrial society, buying machinery was very expensive because Japan didn’t have valuable manufactured goods to trade for machines. And this left Japan with only one single organization able and willing to afford industrialisation: the government. And while the professionals didn’t have enough money, the government didn’t have the knowledge. So the government would invest in various factories and hire people like Tanaka to run them. Combining government wealth with professional knowhow.
[HOKKAIDO] To illustrate how Japan went about industrializing let’s look at the example of Hokkaido, the second largest island of Japan located here. The government was afraid that Russia would try to take over the island and that it would become the first European colony on Japanese soil. Afterall, Russia conquered what we today call Vladivostok, in 1858 from China, just 10 years earlier. And Japan was right next to Vladivostok. And as we all know today, fearing a Russian invasion is quite reasonable.
So in 1869… Nice… In 1869 they set up the Hokkaido Development Board whose goal was to develop the island to such an extent that it would be too powerful to colonize. The island had a lot of potential farmland, but no modern agriculture. So they turned to the USA for technical expertise and hired the former US Commissioner of Agriculture to advise the Japanese. They introduced large-scale farming techniques, imported various seeds from western countries that were well-suited to the Japanese climate, and introduced new livestock able to produce more products. To support all these advancements they set up an agricultural college to teach these new techniques to the Japanese.
Japanese scientists would work here to experiment with new forms of agriculture to figure out new and better ways to farm in Japan, not just copying what worked in other countries. Canals were dug, windmills mills were built, and roads were paved. They sent out teams to survey how fertile each piece of land was and if there were any minerals they could exploit. They bought mining equipment from western nations, hired experts to teach them how to make their own train lines, and built ports to export these goods to the rest of Japan and foreign countries. And as the export of food and raw materials increased, one of Japan’s first breweries was created here, using the surplus wheat and rye to make beer, called Sapporo Beer, which still exists today… [INSERT VIDEO OF THE BEER (AND ME POURING IT POORLY)] Honestly, I think it’s just as good as the Dutch beer: also 1 star… And no, I didn’t just mention this so I could deduct them from my taxes. Japan would select certain companies and businesses who would be given government support and granted licenses to operate new ventures.
The goal was to create multiple companies in the same industry so that there would be healthy competition between them. This competition, it was argued, would result in these companies having to constantly try to be their best: creating the best products, the most efficient factories, and managing the effective supply chains. This was based on western capitalist philosophy on how a healthy capitalist economy should be managed. This industrialisation was often paid for with loans, taken out from wealthy Japanese people and institutions. Once these businesses turned a profit, the loans were paid back to the Japanese. This is in stark contrast to many other countries that tried this type of industrialisation, such as the Ottoman empire, where the loans were taken out in foreign countries.
Meaning that a large part of the Ottoman wealth went abroad. In Japan, however, the wealth of Japan stayed in Japan and would be reinvested in Japan. Thus spurring on more industrialisation. In 1881 the Hokkaido Development Board had created a healthy economy where immigrants from all over the nation wanted to live and work; the industrialisation now moved forward without the government getting involved; and a large food supply was created for Japan. Hokkaido became a model for the Japanese industrialisation that repeated itself across the nation: first the government would pay for equipment and experts from abroad learning everything they could from them, they would select certain businesses to spearhead early industrialisation, and once a healthy economy was set up the government would hand over many of their businesses to the private sector, if they weren’t so already.
Such as trains, where they first hired foreigners and bought foreign-made trains, then they set up a government company to manage the construction of new railroads, until eventually the japanese were able to make their own trains and tracks. And this process was seen from anything from steel production to shipbuilding to textile industry. Where, for example, in 1880, they organized a cotton spinning conference, showcasing the latest in cotton technology. Business owners soon cot-on and the number of textile factories grew naturally afterwards. It is important, however, to point out that modernisation would likely have occurred anyway, Japan had many industries, a relatively well-educated population, and access to modern technology thanks to the trade with the Dutch. But it wouldn’t have occurred as fast as it did without government support.
And there were A LOT of Japanese companies supported by the government around this time. Such as the Mitsui Group which was founded in 1876, which owns important companies such as Toshiba, the Japan Steel Works, and the previously mentioned Sapporo Beer. Or maybe another company you might have heard of; Mishubishi, which was founded in 1870, just 2 years after the Meiji restoration began. And there were dozens of smaller companies set up under this system which still exist to today such as the Tokyo Stock Exchange; Shiseido, one of the oldest cosmetic companies in the world; or take the Taisei Corporation founded in 1873, an employee-owned corporation which constructed the metro tunnel connecting the 2 parts of Istanbul together, built the current Imperial Palace of Japan, and helped construct those artificial islands in Dubai. [INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY] But despite Japan’s industrialisation, they were still seen by many Western countries as ‘semi-barbarians’. Japan wanted the world to treat them like a major power.
And they wanted to achieve that aim by renegotiating the treaties they were forced to sign. And they got their break in 1894. At the time, Great Britain and Russia were rivals. The UK saw in Japan an ally that would force Russia to split their efforts between Great Britain in the west and Japan in the East. Japan was willing to agree… but on the condition that the old treaty, which was signed under threat of bombartment, would be altered. At this point the UK needed Japan more as an ally than as a coal-refueling port and so they agreed to sign a new treaty as equals.
Great Britain, the superpower of the world in the late 19th century, treated Japan as an equal. This was a MASSIVE diplomatic victory and in just a couple of years they renegotiated every single treaty they were at one point forced to sign. [EMPIRE] With Japan officially recognized as an equal on the worldstage, it did what every great power in that time did: colonization. And luckily for Japan, there were much poorer and weaker countries right next door: they took over the Ryukyu Kingdom in 1874 and various nearby islands, however, the first major colony was Taiwan, which Japan conquered from China in 1895, then they went to war with Russia and conquered South Shanklin in 1905, Korea in 1910, various German colonies during WW1, Manchuria in 1931, and various other smaller colonies through East Asia and the pacific.
Japan used these colonies as a shield to make it harder for other empires to conquer Japan and as a source of vital resources. Because as Japan industrialized, they needed more of everything to run their modern economy. And just like other empires, Japan would abuse their colonial subjects to get what it wanted: massacres… slave labour… comfort women… These crimes against humanity were so severe that even today the former colonies of Japan still hold resentment towards their former overlord. [LIFE GETS BETTER BEFORE WW2] But for the Japanese, life was getting better, becoming one of the wealthiest countries in the world at the time. Japan created a parliament citizens could vote for, an independent court of judges, and adopted a constitution. Their strategy of carefully selecting companies to grow the economy, government investment, and colonial expansion made Japan one of the great powers before WW2.
But as it expanded, it came into conflict with other more powerful nations. And in the 1930s and 40s Japan went to war with China, the USA, and various European empires in World War 2. And as we all know, Japan lost that war. Their emperor declared "the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage."
And Japan was forced to give up most of its colonial territory, many of its leaders were to be put on trial for war crimes at the Tokyo Trial, and the USA would occupy the Japanese home islands. [RECONSTRUCTION] To see the effects WW2 had on Japan let's take a look at these pictures. Whole neighborhoods were destroyed, in Tokyo during a single night around 100.000 people were engulfed in fire, and millions were left homeless after the war. Japan was a broken country after WW2 and had to somehow find a way to rebuild. And so the reconstruction era begins.
Millions of Japanese citizens returned home; soldiers, administrators, and civilians were all coming back. They searched for work, for a house, and for food. To the USA, however, reconstruction wasn’t important. Their goal for Japan was to make sure it could never threaten the USA ever again. And they thought that the best way of preventing Japan from starting more major wars in Asia, was to make Japan’s government more like the US’s government… Afterall, the USA has never started major wars, colonized other peoples, or commit crimes against humanity.
And so they forced Japan to become democratic again like it was in 1920s, they purged 200.000 people from the government they deemed anti-democratic, and give more authority to local governments. The USA didn’t understand Japan, its people, or its language well enough to enforce their own laws and had to rely on what was left of the Japanese government. And as a result little changes were made to how the government operated and they instead focussed on removing radical, marxist, and ultranationalist forces from power and replacing school textbooks with pro-democratic teaching materials. This left proponents of democracy in power, who put up little opposition to the US reforms.
And so for the first 5 years of the occupation the emphasis was on making Japan a more liberal democracy. But then the Cold War became an important issue in East Asia: North Korea became a Soviet puppet state, China was taken over by communists, and Vietnam was fighting its a socialist revolution. All of which were located close to Japan.
And while Japan was willing to sell military equipment to the USA, they were too weak to do anything about it themselves. And so the USA switched its strategy. They argued that if Japan would have a powerful economy again then they could use that economic power to fight communism. And so the new strategy was this: in order to assure that Japan would remain an ally of the USA, it would only be allowed to have a small military for self-defense. The USA would then station their own troops in Japan and make the Japanese pay 75% of their cost.
This was a good deal to the USA, who now had a cheap army in Japan, made Japan dependent on the USA for protection, and ensured that Japan couldn’t create a new empire. Instead, Japan would focus on developing their economy and using this wealth to counter communism in East Asia. And now that they no longer had colonies to get resources from, they would instead have to buy them from the USA and their allies, including various former Japanese colonies who also aligned with the USA in the cold war. As a result, Japan would adopt a more US style of capitalism: buy resources from other countries, turn them into manufactured goods at home, and sell them to other capitalist countries across the world. This was a great deal for Japan: they would get to develop their economy, gain access to resources from across the world, and be able to sell to most of the large economies in the world.
And all they had to do was talk a bit about how great free trade, democracy, and human rights are. And in 1952 the USA ended their occupation and Japan could decide its own future again. In order for Japan to develop economically they wouldn’t be able to develop all sectors of the economy and instead focused on industries Japan was good at.
They called this policy “priority production”. Although today we know this by a different name ‘comparative advantage’. In short, it’s the idea that you focus on the things you are good at, sell those products to other countries, and use the profits to buy everything else you don’t produce yourself. But what should the Japanese economy focus their efforts on? Well, for this let’s look at their geography. If you look at Japan you will see that the country is a series of long thin islands, meaning that wherever you are in Japan you’re always close to the sea. But it’s also mountainous, so the people are forced to live in the few parts where building cities is easy.
So Japan used this to their advantage: producing a lot of heavy things like machinery, send it to the nearest port, and from there transporting goods all over the world. Japan has created some of the most densely industrialized pieces of land in the world. And to set this all up Japan first focussed on vital industries: coal, fertilizer, and electricity.
Once they had enough fuel, food, and power they would move their focus towards other industries such as construction, steel production, and heavy industry. Things that were heavy and difficult to transport, but Japan could ship easily and cheaply due to their access to seas and oceans all around them. And this strategy worked: By 1955 Japan’s economy became larger than before the war. But in order to have a high-tech economy, you need a highly-skilled workforce. Before the war, university students mostly came from the upper classes, a privilege reserved for the rich.
But a modern economy needed A LOT more educated people and so many young people began applying for college… But the schools weren’t designed for so many people. There simply weren’t enough class rooms, teachers, and colleges for them all. To show why this is a problem, let’s look at modern India. They are facing a similar problem: due to high population growth, they now have 260 million children attending school, more than any other country ever has. But the schools can’t keep up. Only about 70% of children attend secondary school, half of 10-year old students cannot read a story designed for 6-year olds, and just a quarter can do a simple division.
And a person who can’t do math well, will never be able to get an engineering or econometrics degree, 2 fields that are vital for making industrial processes run smoothly. As a result, these students are FAR less likely to find a high paying job, create a successful business, or help develop the country for the next generations. If you’ve ever wondered why so many people doubt whether India can become a superpower despite its large population, a lack of basic skills one should have been taught at primary school is one of them. In short: you do not want to end up like India. So how did Japan avoid this? Well, they realized this problem fairly early on and spent A LOT of money to make sure everybody who wanted to go to school could go to school. Japan simplified its education system: students would spend 6 years in primary school, 3 in middle school, and 3 in high school.
Similar to many western countries. High school students were encouraged to go to college to become highly trained professionals with well-paying jobs. And it worked: In the 1950s less than 50% of students pursued formal education beyond middle school, by 1975 this was over 90%. Becoming on par with other developed countries.
But the education people received was often segregated by sex. While both men and women were better educated, most men finished 4 years of college while women often only did 2 years. But their education didn’t end once they left college: they would be sent abroad to learn the latest advancements in their industries and bring this know-how back home.
Japan then put import restrictions on various products, making it more expensive to buy foreign-made products. As a result, when those highly skilled people returned home there were plenty of companies ready to hire them to sell those same products to the Japanese themselves. Eventually they became so good at it that Japanese products were often cheaper than foreign products and Japan became an export economy, selling all sorts of high-tech products such as televisions, VCRs, or cars.
But by the 70s other nations soon caught on to what Japan was doing and forced them to open their markets to companies from western countries, hoping that European and North America companies could make a lot of money on the ever-increasing wealth of Japanese consumers. But here a funny thing happened: Western Europe and North America had for a long time been the only rich places on Earth but they also have a similar culture. So if a French company wanted to sell wine in Canada, they didn’t need to change their products and marketing too much because of the similar culture… but Japan was the first real exception. So when western companies tried western marketing in the Japanese culture, those Japanese weren’t interested and stuck with Japanese companies instead.
As a result, Japanese businesses barely had to worry about foreign competitors and could reliably use profits at home to export more goods abroad. This allowed Japanese businesses to focus on selling to other countries and making their production lines ever more efficient. In fact, by the late 20th century Japan had one of the most efficient economies in the world. Firstly, the terrain forces the people to live in small areas of the country, meaning that public services are cheaper to provide: tramlines, sewage, or firetrucks don’t need to travel as far. The Tokyo area in particular is very efficient: it has a nearly uninterrupted industrial zone around Tokyo Bay, with 3 steel works; 13 oil refineries; 6 petro-chemical plants; 12 other chemical plants; 10 shipyards; 2 automobile factories; and 14 electric power stations. With thousands of smaller industrial facilities.
These facilities were turned into one of the most efficient economies in the world by the late 20th century. You see, because everything is so close in Japan it meant that industrial processes could become far more specialized. So instead of having 1 factory make its own parts and turn those parts into a product, Japan created a system where a bunch of factories would each produce a small amount of parts.
Other factories would buy all these parts and put them together into products. And this system is much more efficient because if your entire industrial process is targeted towards making one type of product, such as for example screws, then you can create a more efficient system than if hundreds of factories each made their own screws. As a result of being cheaper, most of those other factories eventually choose to buy from you instead.
Japan has essentially perfected this process in the late 20th century. As a result, the Japanese economy became one of the most efficient ones in the world and many other countries have followed Japan’s example. The reason we have this same system in our countries today is because saw how effective it was in Japan and wanted the same. The first real threat to the Japanese economy came in the 1980s, when China opened its markets to the world. All of a sudden, low-cost manufacturing like the textile industry moved away from Japan and towards China.
A country with a larger labor force and lower salaries. Japan’s profits in these industries plummeted… but the government had a plan: Japan knew a lot about making and selling clothing in a global capitalist system while China did not… So why not provide Japanese knowhow to Chinese businesses? And in just a few years Japan became China’s largest trade partner and Japan had a new market to focus on.. [60-90S] And so, over time, life in Japan significantly improved. They had larger houses, access to a wider variety of food making them healthier, and life expectancy grew from about 47 years in 1935, to 68 in 1960, 78 in 1990, and 84 in 2019. Although as always, women tend to last longer than men.
And as people lived longer, the population increased from 32 million in 1853 to 70 million around 1935, 100 million in 1968, 123 million in 1990, and reaching its peak in in 2010 at 128.1 million. Eventually becoming the first industrialized country who saw their population shrink due to the low birth rate and aging population. But where as most other countries hired people from abroad to take over the jobs of pensioners, Japanese society is rather xenophobic and barely allows foreigners to come and work in their country. As a result, it’s not uncommon for Japanese to work 60 hours per week or more.
If you’ve ever wondered why even the most xenophobic political parties in the west never really seem to put a lot of effort into closing their their borders, no matter how much they hate immigrants: it’s because they’ve looked at Japan and realize they lose more votes if people have to work longer than letting foreigners have jobs. Another example of how countries look at Japan to see how they should do things themselves. And because Japan didn’t have enough workers, more women got a job. After WW2 it was mostly men who worked while women stayed at home.
They were seen as caretakers of the household, with nearly complete control over budgets, childrens’ schooling, and maintaining the family’s status in the neighborhood. When their children left home, these women found themselves with a lot of free time and many of them used their time to fight for societal issues: public safety, environmentalism, and women’s issues. For example, when the government wanted to put restrictions on abortions, it was mostly these women activists who created movements, protests, and a general strong resistance against such policies. Which I might cover more of in the abortion video coming up. By the late 20th and early 21st centuries these women rejoined the workforce while younger generations of women were less likely to quit their jobs after having children. They soon discovered that because women hadn’t been working, nearly all positions were taken by men.
And the male-dominated workspace perceived women joining the workforce as unwelcome competition and women were often put in jobs that were seen as less prestigious. Gender-based hiring, paying, and promoting became commonplace. There were a myriad of policies implemented across Japanese businesses to prevent women from reaching the same level as men. This is often referred to as the ‘glass ceiling’. By the 1990s only 10% of Japanese management positions were held by women, for example.
As a result, the Japanese economy lost out on a large portion of competent people working in high-skilled and high level jobs due to this sexism. These men were, and often still are, holding women back from positions with a higher salary and more authority. And this is an issue facing Japan all the way up until today. [OUTRO] And then in the 1990s Japan had reached the end of its rapid economic growth. It had caught up with the rest of the developed countries. If it wanted to keep growing it couldn’t simply copy other countries anymore, they now had to figure it out for themselves how to keep growing their economy with new technologies, systems, and ways of doing things.
And as a result, Japan’s economy has barely grown in the last 30 yeras. But nobody has been able to identify why Japan’s economy has barely grown for the last 30 years. While there are several theories, the field of economics simply hasn’t advanced enough to understand why Japan stagnates while other developed countrieskeep growing. And so this is where we will end it for today. Japan has come a long way in the last 160 years, from a poor country to a powerful empire to the 3rd largest economy in the world today. [OUTRO] If you like this video then please smash the like button, smash the subscribe button, smash the notification button.
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