A research paper on Japan's history analyzes important factors pertaining to Japan’s history, culture, business climate and environment, country demographics, and trading data to present a balanced report on major ongoing economic and related developments in Japan. The study demonstrates that although history continues to have profound impacts on the evolution of Japan’s businesses, its economy, its cultural, and its trading relations, new developments are bringing unprecedented changes to this highly important island-nation.
Evidence of the long, dark, simmering shadow that history still casts over Japan can be found in virulent anti-Japanese riots, involving tens of thousands of protestors, that have recently rocked China and South Korea. In addition to old and lingering territorial and historical disputes, the recent anti-Japan riots were inspired by deep concerns in many parts of East Asia about the possibility that the former egregious colonial power will obtain a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Japan Since World War II
By contrast, many anti-Japan activists maintain—and with sound reason that Japan has still failed to properly apologize for its imperialist past, and are especially incensed by history textbooks and other government-sanctioned materials that continue to downplay and deny Japan’s World War II aggression in Asia. Anti-Japan activists also express dire concern about the former regional tyrant’s ever-stronger military might (Moffett, Hutzler, & Choi, 2005). For much of the period since the end of World War II, Japan has been governed by a pacifist constitution and mentality that emerged out of the horrors of the U.S. detonation of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945—which directly killed some 80,000 Japanese, hastened the end of the war, and led to U.S. occupation of Japan. However, within approximately the last decade Japan has steadily modernized its military forces, to the point where its $42.5 billion 2003 defense budget was surpassed only by those of the United States, China, and France. Recent years have also witnessed preparations by Japanese parliamentarians to revise pacifist clauses in the constitution that would enable the country to pay more powerful roles in regional military affairs. Many in East Asia and elsewhere are concerned that these recent and ongoing developments indicate a resurgence of the old Japanese warrior culture that was in the past a source of serious regional instability.
Recently in Japan's History
In recent years, the Japanese government has staked its hope for economic revitalization largely on massive public-works spending. However, many analysts suggest that key sources of Japan’s stubbornly lingering economic woes are business climates and environments that often stifle entrepreneurial initiative. For instance, aspiring Japanese entrepreneurs are often frustrated and demoralized by rules and regulations requiring them to expend valuable time and financial resources simply to launch a business venture. Even at a time when the nation is in desperate need of new foundations of economic growth, Japanese regulations mandate copious registration fees and bank visits and require that companies have 10 million yen (about US$81,000) in upfront capital. Regulations also mandate that all joint-stock companies must have four corporate officers and that each of these four must be “reappointed” every two years at a cost of approximately $3,000 per officer. As a result, many Japanese entrepreneurs have gone to extreme lengths to evade stifling regulatory and financial burdens—particularly by seeking for favorable business climates and environments overseas. Because of such problems, recent investigations by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicate that annual venture-capital investment in Japan is equivalent to only 0.02 percent of its gross domestic.