Competitiveness of Japan's Economy for the Future
December 1969 - June 2009
Japan's economy is in a crisis. The negative data are depressing: decreasing production figures, low share prices, a shrinking GDP, decreasing consumption and increasing unemployment combined with threatening public debt and an unstable financial market. All in all these data show an economy that is far away from recovery, far from stable growth and recovery from the weakness that has been affecting the economy since the burst of the "bubble economy" in the 1990s.
The statement that Japan’s economy is in a crisis, although correct, requires more explanation: by only mentioning the crisis, one does not adequately describe the development. There are diverging developments in several industries. With Toyota and NTT DoCoMo realizing operating profits of more than a trillion Yen on the one hand side, and traditional firms like NEC or Matsushita realizing the worst results in their firm's history, the difference between good and bad, between profits and losses has never been so big.
This project aims to first investigate these discrepancies and find out how certain enterprises, industries and public institutions react to these challenges in the economic environment. Areas of special interest are
- changes of corporate strategies;
- changes of organizational structures;
- changes in corporate behaviour, especially in accordance with external changes; and
- the creation of new businesses.
By investigating these areas, it will become clear where the current weaknesses and potentials of the Japanese economy lie. The analysis will focus on
- industries where Japanese corporations belong to the world's top-performers (such as automotive, electronics, mobile telecommunication), and
- industries where Japan obviously is behind the current development (for instance, biotechnology, financial industry, or environmental industry).
Since we focus on both these sides, we can expect the results to be very distinct and to allow for theoretical dispute as well as for discussions with practitioners. The methodologies are determined by the approaches used by the different researchers. However, an important part for everybody involved in this project is the empirical part: the quantitative and qualitative methods to be used in interviews of and talks with leading figures in politics and economy.