- 日本福祉大学経済論集 (ISSN:09156011)
- no.23, pp.173-195, 2001-06-30
In these decades, there been a considerable number of critiques viewing Japan, which have been performed and published by western experts. Amongst them there is a difference between those of Anglo-American versus European authorship: It has been observed that the former give us the impression of not only criticizing Japan severely, but also of urging their own standards of value upon the subject country; while the latter do not show such a tendency to force their own behavior upon Japan.This book, published quite recently by two French journalists, tries to describe to the greatest extent possible, the Japanese economic political and social affairs. The authors do turn severe eyes on certain things, yet they do not force the reader to follow European models. In the 7 chapters into which the book is divided, the authors have tried to capture in their observations the overlying rhythm of the process of Japan's economic development, while also extracting the contradictions existing at the bottom of its industrial and social structure, such as the double structure differentiating huge companies from small and medium scale companies.Further, following the passing stages of the process, they note the illusion of the golden age, and analyze in a well integrated manner the several elements which have caused the profound troubles during the decade of the 1990s. As an inevitable orientation for the coming new 21st century, Japan needs to and should change its entire structure, taking paths other than the traditional Japanese model, not only for the sake of renewing its own development, but also for the surrounding partner countries in Asia.The authors with their keen eyes and balanced observers' minds, describe the evolution of reforms taken by the Japanese government as well as their results, such as a huge amount of public debts, and a structural change in employment which has brought a significant turn in workers' minds.The long continued economic recession, with daily reports of restructuring of enterprises accompanied by the firing of a lot of salaried employees, have visibly and deeply changed the Japanese people's belief in their society. Inevitably, they have become apathetic in the political world, lost confidence in their leading power elites, and now there appears an individualism which is new to the Japanese way. In addition to those phenomena, the authors point out several elements and power groups who dare to hinder the evolution of improvement and renovation aimed at the solution of the innumerable troubles.In the last chapter, titled "The giant is not dead", the authors analyze both the historical and present relationships of Japan with the surrounding countries in Asia, especially China, and make one sort of recommendation in the field of international politics, concerning Japan's responsibility for events during the war period, including indemnity.As for Japan's relations with the United States, there are not many assertions other than to remark upon the former's non-achievement of complete independence from the latter's dominance. Japan has turned its head toward Europe, and particularly France, due to the successful evolution of the European Union, as well as to the consensus found between the two parties on defending themselves against American globalization.In conclusion, briefly but firmly, the authors confirm their belief in the future possible renovation and improvement of Japanese society and its external relations owing to the people's racial characteristic of patience by which they could overwhelm any kinds of difficulties to be encountered on the way of Japan's development in the near future.