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Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan's Lost Decades

ISBN: 978-1-118-78069-5
256 pages
June 2014
Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan


An in-depth look at Japan's economic malaise and the steps it must take to compete globally

In Japanization, Bloomberg columnist William Pesek—based in Tokyo—presents a detailed look at Japan's continuing twenty-year economic slow-down, the political and economic reasons behind it, and the policies it could and should undertake to return to growth and influence. Despite new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's promise of economic revitalization, investor optimism about the future, and plenty of potential, Japanization reveals why things are unlikely to change any time soon.

Pesek argues that "Abenomics," as the new policies are popularly referred to, is nothing more than a dressed-up version of the same old fiscal and monetary policies that have left Japan with crippling debt, interest rates at zero, and constant deflation. He explores the ten forces that are stunting Japan's growth and offers prescriptions for fixing each one.

  • Offers a skeptical counterpoint to the popular rosy narrative on the economic outlook for Japan
  • Gives investors practical and detailed insight on the real condition of Japan's economy
  • Reveals ten factors stunting Japan's growth and why they are unlikely to be solved any time soon
  • Explains why most of what readers believe they know about Japan's economy is wrong
  • Includes case studies of some of the biggest Japanese companies, including Olympus, Japan Airlines, Sony, and Toyota, among others

For many investors, businesspeople, and economists, Japan's long economic struggle is difficult to comprehend, particularly given the economic advantages it appears to have over its neighbors. Japanization offers a ground-level look at why its problems continue and what it can do to change course.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Chapter 1: How Japan Papers Over Economic Cracks with Monetary and Fiscal Policy 1

Chapter 2: The Female Problem: How Institutionalized Sexism Kills Growth 39

Chapter 3: The 1,000,000,000,000,000 Yen Monster: When a Debt Market Becomes So Big It Dominates Everything 67

Chapter 4: The Fukushima Effect: How Rampant Cronyism Holds Japan Back 95

Chapter 5: Galapagos Nation: How Isolation Stunts Japan’s Evolution 125

Chapter 6: Hello Kitty Isn’t a Foreign Policy: How Amateurish Diplomacy Undermines Japan 155

Chapter 7: Will Abenomics Save the World? 185

Bibliography 213

About the Author 219

Index 221

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Author Information

WILLIAM PESEK is a Bloomberg columnist in Tokyo. He provides opinions and commentary on economics, business, markets, and politics throughout Asia. His columns routinely appear in publications around the globe. Previously, he was a columnist for Barron’s, writing about global economics, politics, and financial markets. William was the winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW)’s 2010 award for commentary.

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Press Release

May 07, 2014
Wiley Announces Japanization – A Study of Japan’s Economy, Explains Why Most of What Readers Believe They Know about It is Wrong

Wiley today announced Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan's Lost Decades, a new addition to Wiley’s imprint, Bloomberg Press, featuring a critical look where Japan went wrong, how it sank under the weight of hubris and political atrophy, and missed opportunity after opportunity to scrap an insular model based on overinvestment, export-led growth, and excessive debt.

A recent poll shows that 21% of investors now see Japan as offering the best opportunities in the year ahead and 54% are more optimistic than pessimistic about what economists call “Abenomics.”

This book will counter the conventional wisdom that Japan is about to return to its former glory. It will detail how Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe’s new growth strategy to end the nation’s 20-year malaise and halt deflation is really the same old mix of fiscal and monetary excess—that left Japan with the world’s largest public debt, zero interest rates, and constant deflation.

It explores ten forces that are stunting Japan’s evolution into a more vibrant, creative and competitive economic species; and present prescriptions for each one.

Japanization includes case studies of some of the biggest and most-observed companies, including Olympus, Japan Airlines, Sony, and Toyota; Nobel Prize winners: Paul Krugman, Aung San Suu Kyi and Muhammad Yunus; big social thinkers like Malcolm Gladwell, and some of the best-known investors, including Warren Buffett and Donald Trump; sports stars: Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Bobby Valentine and others.

Japanization is now available at US$34.95 (Hardcover) and US$22.99 (E-book) through Wiley’s Online Store (www.Wiley.com) and all major book stores.

Wiley is a global provider of content and content-enabled workflow solutions in areas of scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly research; professional development; and education. Established since 1807, Wiley has been a valued source of information and understanding for more than 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations.

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Press Contact:

Sharifah Sharomsah,




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