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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Hanns Günther Hilpert

Hanns Günther Hilpert
Since July 1999
(Senior Research Fellows, July 1, 1999 - February 28, 2002)

Business Cycles

After three decades of high economic growth Japan experienced in the 90ies an enduring phase of stagnation, which is characterized and intensified by industrial structural adjustment, by an unresolved crisis of the financial industry and by a sustained gap in private (investment and consumer) demand. Further to the points mentioned above the (long-term) potential economic growth rate of Japan seems to be reduced in the 90ies due to demographic change and the decreased scope for catching-up growth. In this environment the quest for the right macro-management of the economy is a continuous issue of high political priority. Beside the current analysis and prognosis of the Japanese business cycle there are also rather practical questions to be tackled: Which stylized features of business cycles do exist in Japan? Have they changed in the 90ies? How do Japanese economic data, how does empirical methods of business cycle research in Japan compare with the data and the methods in other OECD countries?

Foreign Trade and Investment

Since long the foreign economic relations of Japan are marked by distinct structural characteristics: Japan is a domestic oriented economy. Exports amount to less than 10% of its GDP – a share, which is far below the relative of the industrialized countries in Europe, America and Asia. Also the share of intra-industrial trade in Japan’s total trade is distinctly lower than in other OECD-countries. Since the early 80ies Japan is accumulating high surpluses in its trade and current accounts year by year. Especially Japan’s bilateral trading relations with the industrialized countries are in a high surplus. Japan’s annual direct investment balance is in high surplus, too. The particular features described above tend to change somehow in the 90ies. Trade with the neighboring Asian countries, spurred by Japanese direct investment, has increased rapidly already since the mid 80ies, so that about half of Japan’s present foreign trade is regional. Substitutional competition of the newly industrializing economies of East Asia are making inroad to the domestic market. Furthermore the intra-industrial exchange of goods and services is growing steadily. Even inward investment has increased in the late 90ies.

Economic Integration in East Asia

Traditionally both the industrialized and the newly industrializing countries of East Asia direct their trade to external trading partners (USA, Europe). Since the mid-80ies, however, an empirical trend of intensification of intra-regional trade in East Asia can be recognized. It is striking that East Asia – in contrast to Europe, North America and Latin America – has not concluded a binding regional trade agreement. Obviously it is not trade policy, but a set of other factors, which seems to drive the intensification of regional trade and investment in this region. Of particular importance are the industrialization process in East Asia and the catching-up growth of the NIEs, of the ASEAN-4 countries and of China, the intra-regional investment, the border-crossing agglomeration and the profit-led actions of the Japanese, Chinese and Korean business networks. In this environment especially processed trade increased. The process of intra-regional integration in East Asia cannot be explained solely by neoclassical trade theory. Driving forces, which can be derived from economic growth theory and/or from locational theory come into play and determine the regional integration process. From this theoretical background the essential questions for the region are to be tackled: Where will be the future centers of economic gravity of the region? How will trade and investment relations between Japan, Korea, China and South East Asia evolve? What consequences for trade policy, monetary policy and integration policy can be drawn?

DIJ Projects

Completed DIJ Projects

Japan in Asia

Selected Publications


[With: Hilpert, Hanns Günther] Schriftenreihe des ifo Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung Nr. 146. München/ Berlin:
[With: Hilpert, Hanns Günther; Habuda, Judith; Martsch, Silvia; Ochel, Wolfgang] Neue Ansätze und Instrumente der Außenwirtschaftsförderung in ausgewählten Industrieländern. München:
[With: Hilpert, Hanns Günther; Laumer, Helmut; Martsch, Silvia; Nassua, Thomas] ifo studien zur japanforschung Nr. 13. Munich:
[With: Hilpert, Hanns Günther; Taube, Markus] ifo studien zur japanforschung Nr. 12. Munich:
[With: Hilpert, Hanns Günther; Vieweg, Hans G.] Schriftenreihe des ifo Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung Nr. 135. München/Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.
[With: Hilpert, Hanns Günther; Ernst, Angelika; Hild, Raimund; Martsch, Silvia] ifo studien zur japanforschung Nr. 9. Munich:
[With: Hilpert, Hanns Günther] ifo studien zur japanforschung Nr. 5. Munich:
[With: Hilpert, Hanns Günther; Ernst, Angelika] ifo studien zur japanforschung Nr. 4. Munich:


[With: Haak, René] Japan and China. Cooperation, Competition and Conflicts (Japan und China. Zusammenarbeit, Wettbewerb und Konflikt). DIJ Publications. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave. 217 p.
[With: Liscutin, Nicola] Newsletter . DIJ Newsletter. Tokyo: iudicium Verlag.
[With: Legewie, Jochen] Newsletter. DIJ Newsletter. iudicium Verlag.
[With: Haak, René] Newsletter. DIJ Newsletter. Tokyo: iudicium Verlag.
[With: Wolfgang Ruppert, Akira Aoki, Dennis S. Tachiki] ifo studien zur japanforschung Nr. 6. München:


[With: Dolles, Harald] Sōgō Shōsha im Zeitalter der Restrukturierung der japanischen Wirtschaft
In: Zentes, Joachim; Mor­schett, Dirk; Swoboda, Bernhard (Ed.) B2B-Handel: Perspektiven des Groß- und Außenhandels. Wiesbaden: Deutscher Fachverlag. p. 178-194.
[With: Haak, René] Introduction
In: Hilpert, Hanns Günther; Haak, René (Ed.) Japan and China. Cooperation, Competition and Conflicts (Japan und China. Zusammenarbeit, Wettbewerb und Konflikt). DIJ Publications. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave. pp. 1-11.
China and Japan: Conflict or Cooperation? What does Trade Data say?
In: Hilpert, Hanns Günther; Haak, René (Ed.) Japan and China. Cooperation, Competition and Conflicts (Japan und China. Zusammenarbeit, Wettbewerb und Konflikt). DIJ Publications. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave.
[With: Nakagane Katsuji] Sino-Japanese Economic Relations: What can we learn from Trade and FDI?
In: Marie Söderberg (Ed.) Chinese-Japanese Relations in the Twenty-first Century, Complementarity and Conflict. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 224-246.
Japans Agrarimporte - ein Überblick [Japan's Agricultural Imports - An Overview]
In: Liscutin, Nicola; Haak, René (Ed.) Japanstudien 12. Essen und Ernährung im modernen Japan. Japanstudien. Munich: iudicium Verlag. p. 249-282.
Japan und China im ostasiatischen Wirtschaftsraum: Komplementaritäten und Konflikte
In: Markus Taube, Anton Gälli (Ed.) Chinas Wirtschaft im Wandel. Aktuelle Aspekte und Probleme. ifo Forschungsberichte der Abteilung Entwicklungsländer Nr. 88. Bonn: Weltforum Verlag. p. 29-68.
[With: Raupach-Sumiya, Jörg] Japans Wirtschaftspolitik in den neunziger Jahren – Eine Insider-Analyse: Ein Gespräch mit Kazuhide Uekusa
In: Japan – Analysen, Prognosen, Nr. 162, 1999. p. 1-28.
[With: H. Piei, N. A. Khalifah, J.P. Lehmann] Economic Interactions
In: Hanns W. Maull, Gerald Segal, Jusuf Wanandi (Ed.) Europe and the Asia-Pacific. London: Routledge. p. 55-67.
[With: Laumer, Helmut] Japans steiniger Weg ins 21. Jahrhundert
In: ifo schnelldienst Nr.51/21. p. 11-25.
[With: Leibfritz, Willi] Krise in Asien und Rückwirkungen auf die Konjunktur in den Industrieländern - eine Zwischenbilanz
In: ifo schnelldienst Nr. 51/9. p. 3-9.
TRIPs und das Interesse der Entwicklungsländer am Schutz von Immaterialgüterrechten in ökonomischer Sicht
In: GRUR International, Vol. 47, No. 2. p. 91-99.
Die Internationalisierung des Yen - Aufstieg zur Leitwährung?
In: Institut für Asienkunde Hamburg, Angelika Ernst, Peter Pörtner (Ed.) Die Rolle des Geldes in Japan. Hamburg: p. 147-160.
Grundlinien der Forschungs- und Technologiepolitik in Japan
In: Japan Analysen Prognosen Nr. 127. p. 1-21.
[With: Miyashita, O.] A comparison of ownership and corporate control: Japan and Germany compared
In: Japan Analysen Prognosen Nr. 108/109. p. 1-28.
Europe and Asia-Pacific: From Differing to Converging Patterns of Economic Integration
In: Tokyo Club Foundation for Global Studies (Ed.) Tokyo Club Papers No. 8. Tokyo: p. 157-187.
Yen-Block in Asien? Die wirtschaftliche Verflechtung Japans mit der asiatisch-pazifischen Region
In: Geographische Rundschau, Nr. 46/11. p. 616-621.
Strategische Unternehmensverflechtung in Japan (Keiretsu): Vorteile im internationalen Wettbewerb?
In: ifo schnelldienst Nr. 47/27. p. 17-24.
Die japanische Bauwirtschaft bereitet sich auf das 21. Jahrhundert vor
In: ifo schnelldienst Nr. 46/32. p. 27-37.
Japanische Industriepolitik: Grundlagen, Träger, Mechanismen
In: ifo schnelldienst Nr. 46/17-18. p. 7-22.
[With: Ernst, Angelika; Laumer, Helmut] Japans Wirtschaft im strukturellen Wandel: Wettbewerbsposition, Ungleichgewichte, Reformbedarf
In: Hanns W. Maull (Ed.) Japan und Europa: Getrennte Welten? Schriften des Forschungsinstituts der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik. Frankfurt/Main u. New York: p. 51-84.
Die wirtschaftliche Verflechtung Japans mit der asiatisch-pazifischen Region
In: ifo schnelldienst Nr. 46/03. p. 14-31.
Marktstrategien deutscher und japanischer Unternehmen in der asiatisch-pazifischen Region
In: Wolfgang Ruppert, Akira Aoki, Dennis S. Tachiki; Hilpert, Hanns Günther (Ed.) ifo studien zur japanforschung Nr. 6. München: p. 1-46.
APEC - Das Entstehen eines pazifischen Pendants zur EG?
In: ifo schnelldienst Nr. 45/14. p. 14-29.
Hintergründe der japanischen Yen- und Aktienbaisse
In: ifo schnelldienst Nr.. 43/25. p. 12-16.

Other Articles

Japans wirtschaftliche Beziehungen zu China
In: Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer in Japan (Ed.) Japan Markt, Juli 2001. Tokyo: p. 17-20.
Japans Generalhandelshäuser im Umbruch
In: Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer in Japan (Ed.) Japan Markt, August 2001. Tokyo: p. 15-18.
[With: Haak, René] Trade and business relationships between Japan and China - cooperation, competition and conflict
In: Haak, Ulrike; Haak, René (Ed.) Newsletter. Tōkyō: iudicium Verlag. S.1-3.
[With: Raupach-Sumiya, Jörg; Legewie, Jochen; Haak, René] Die Wirtschaftsabteilung des Deutschen Instituts für Japanstudien
In: Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer in Japan (Ed.) Japan Markt, April 2000 (Wissenschaft und Praxis). Tokyo: p. 22-23.
Der japanische Agrarimportmarkt – Chancen für ausländische Anbieter?
In: Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer in Japan (Ed.) Japan Markt, September 2000. Tokyo: p. 17-19.
Book Reviews
In: Berkofsky, Axel; Blechinger, Verena (Ed.) Newsletter. Tokyo: iudicium Verlag.
[With: Raupach-Sumiya, Jörg] Japans Wirtschaftspolitik in den 90er Jahren – Eine Insider-Analyse: Gespräch mit Kazuhide Uekusa
In: Japan Markt, Dezember 1999. p. 13-16.
Aussenwirtschaftsförderung: Vorteil auf Auslandsmärkten?
In: Japan Markt, September 1999.


December 7, 2001

June 15, 2000
The Sino-Japanese Economic Relationship between Conflict and Cooperation. Economic Relations between Japan and China: Current State and Perspectives.

Curriculum Vitae

1999 - 2002
Research associate at the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ).

PhD at the Free University, Berlin (PhD-Thesis: A spatial-economic analysis of economic integration in East Asia {“Wirtschaftliche Integration in Ostasien in raumwirt­schaftlicher Analyse”}

Scholarship from the Research Institute for Capital Formation (RICF), The Japan Development Bank Japan

Scholarships received from the Foundation for Advanced Infor­mation and Research (FAIR) Japan

Senior Researcher in the Study Center Japan/Asia, Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich

DAAD scholarship program (“Sprache und Praxis in Japan”)


1981 – 1987
Studied economics at the University of the Saarland, (degree acquired Diplom Volkswirt)

Commercial apprenticeship in industry (Industriekaufmann) in the Dillinger Hütte AG

Born in Saarbrücken