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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Jochen Legewie

Economics, Economic Geography
(Researchers, October 1, 1996 - February 28, 2001)

Internationalization Strategies of Japanese Companies

With the exception of a few multinational players like Toyota or Sony, most Japanese companies are far less internationalized than their competitors from other industrialized countries. Since the late 1980s, however, internationalization has progressed rapidly with many firms making strong inroads into Asia. Here, analysis begins with the recent internationalization strategies of Japanese firms and the various current development paths adopted by different industries and companies. It continues by comparing the internationalization strategies of Japanese companies with their European and US competitors. The analysis focuses on Asia, within that it emphasis the automobile industry in particular.

International Human Resource Management

Human resource management and personnel management policies of Japanese firms used to be regarded as a special strength of a distinctive Japanese management style. This view has been increasingly challenged in the low growth era of the 1990s. In particular the applicability of Japanese human resource practices to international operations has been criticized, especially with regard to the control and coordination of Japanese overseas subsidiaries. Hence this analysis of Japanese firms focuses on the interplay between international control and coordination mechanisms and the employment of particular human resource management practices. Special emphasis is laid on examining the role of Japanese expatriates with a regional focus on activities in Asia.

The Political Economy of the Integration Process in Asia

Since the 1980s, regional trade and investment in East Asian countries has intensified. Since the early 1990s, a similar intensification has taken place at the level of political relations within the region. Within this integration process, Japanese actors play a crucial role in both the economic and political arena. At the micro level, examples include production networks. At the macro level, examples include official development assistance. In addition to analyzing the role of Japanese business networks in the region the research focuses on the role of Japanese foreign policy within supranational economic groupings like APEC, EAEC, and ASEAN+3. Special emphasis is given to an analysis of changes since the start of the Asian crisis in 1997.

Transport and Logistics

In the last 20 years quantitative and qualitative changes in transport requirements for persons and goods have led to major changes in transportation not only in demand but also in Japan’s overall transport capacity. Investigation focuses on present those tendencies in freight transport that originate in the fundamental material and spatial reorganization of business logistics.

Current DIJ Projects

Completed DIJ Projects

Japan in Asia

The Internationalization of the Japanese Economy