Skip to main content

Asia’s Overlooked Great Power

Japan's economic recovery has been accompanied by an increasingly assertive stance on foreign and defense policy. This may worry the country's neighbors, but their best interests are served by a Japan that is able to address regional and global challenges.

Mention Asia, and most people think of the region’s fascinating, rising giants, China or India – or both. Or people think about North Korea’s nuclear program, some terrorist incident, or the humanitarian consequences of the latest earthquake or tsunami. But often overlooked – or at least underestimated – is Japan.

This is odd, given that Japan is still the world’s second largest economy, with a GDP of $5 trillion – more than China and India combined. Despite Japan’s relatively modest rate of economic growth, its GDP per capita is roughly $38,000, more than ten times that of either China or India.

Moreover, there are important stirrings in Japan that suggest change on both the economic and security fronts. The 1990’s may have been a lost decade, but Japan’s economy has begun to recover, now growing at more than 2% a year and boasting several firms that are truly global and hugely successful.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/EVKqWMW;
  1. benami155_ Ilia Yefimovichpicture alliance via Getty Images_netanyahu Ilia Yefimovich/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

    The Last Days of Netanyahu?

    Shlomo Ben-Ami

    In Israel's recent parliamentary election, voters stopped Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's leadership of the country toward xenophobic theocracy. But Israel now faces a period of political deadlock, and it remains to be seen whether Netanyahu really will be politically sidelined.

    2
  2. oneill66_getty images_world Getty Images

    The Return of Fiscal Policy

    Jim O'Neill

    With interest rates at record lows and global growth set to continue decelerating, there has rarely been a better time for governments to invest in infrastructure and other sources of long-term productivity growth. The only question is whether policymakers in Germany and elsewhere will seize the opportunity now staring them in the face.

    1

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions