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The Contest for Japan's Economic Future: Entrepreneurs vs Corporate Giants
The Contest for Japan's Economic Future: Entrepreneurs vs Corporate Giants

The Contest for Japan's Economic Future: Entrepreneurs vs Corporate Giants

Richard Katz
  • Utilizes a combination of anecdotes (based on dozens of interviews), data, and concepts, all captured in lively prose and easily understood charts
  • Features a cross-country comparisons in text and charts throughout the book
  • Discusses a wide variety of topics that affect entrepreneurship: technological change, generational changes, gender relations, labor issues, low growth, globalization, political-economic history, culture, education

Just as a wave of entrepreneurship created Japan's postwar "economic miracle," so it will take a new generation of entrepreneurs to revive its stagnant economy. A complex distribution system dominated by the incumbents has made it hard for newcomers even to get their products on store shelves.
Fortunately, major social changes are now opening new opportunities. Generational changes in attitudes about work and gender relations are leading more and more talented people to the new companies. This includes ambitious women who are regularly denied promotions at traditional companies. The rise of e-commerce is enabling tens of thousands of newcomers to bypass the traditional distribution system and sell their products to millions of customers. Three decades of low growth have convinced many within both the elites and the public of the need for change.
Still, progress remains an uphill climb because of resistance by powerful forces. Bank financing remains quite difficult. For example, the system of "lifetime employment" has made it very hard to newcomers to recruit the staff they need. Banks, who are often in the same sprawling conglomerates as the corporate giants, are still loath to lend to new companies. While parts of the government try to promote more startups, other parts resist making the needed changes in regulations, taxes, and budgets.
Japan's economic future will be determined by the contest detailed in this book.


Part I: Rise and Fall of Japanese Entrepreneurship
Chapter 1: Entrepreneurship: From Effervescence to Rigidity
Chapter 2: Analog Mindset in a Digital World
Part II: Japan's Recover Requires More Gazelles
Chapter 3: The Need for a Productive Revolution
Chapter 4: Big Company Disease: They Can't See the Gorilla
Chapter 5: Gazelles-A Keystone Species For Productivity
Chapter 6: Abenomics: A Tale of Lost Opportunities
Part III: Who Becomes an Entrepreneur?
Chapter 7: Risk-Averse Culture or Risk vs Reward?
Chapter 8: Who Doesn't Get to Become an Entrepreneur?
Chapter 9: Corporate Intrapreneurship Breeds Entrepreneurs
Chapter 10: Universities as Entrepreneurial Communities
Part IV: Overcoming the Barriers to Gazelles' Growth
Chapter 11: Overcoming the Recruitment Obstacle
Chapter 12: Overcoming the Digital Divide and R&D Gap
Chapter 13: Finance for New Firms
Chapter 14: The Butterfly Effect in Finding Customers
Chapter 15: The Importance of Being Global
Part V: The Politics of Reform
Chapter 16: The Values of Japan's Postwar Political Economy
Chapter 17: Flexicurity: A Third Way
Chapter 18: A Political Scenario for Successful Reform
Chapter 19: Japan Can Do it, But Will it?

About the author: 

Richard Katz is a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics In International Affairs, as well as a Special Correspondent for Weekly Toyo Keizai. The Contest For Japan's Economic Future is his third book and, like his first two, will also be published in Japanese. His two previous books were Japan: The System That Soured--The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Economic Miracle (1998) and Japanese Phoenix: The Long Road to Economic Revival (2003).
For two decades, he published a monthly newsletter on Japan called "The Oriental Economist Report." Now he publishes a free blog called "Japan Economy Watch." His essays and opeds have been published in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and The International Economy. He's testified several times to Congressional committees.
He also taught about Japan's economy as an adjunct lecturer at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and at New York University. He received his M.A. in Economics from New York University in 1996

"Richard Katz, who knows Japan's economy and society inside and out, offers a book full of careful analysis and bold recommendations. It is a precious wake up call to a Japan that sometimes acts like a frog that stays in boiling water." - Heizo Takenaka, Former Japanese Minister for Financial Services and former Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy

"For years, Japan has sorely needed to unleash the sort of creative energy that made it an economic superstar in the postwar decades. This highly original book provides evidence that digital technology, new generational attitudes, improving gender equality, and international inspirations are converging with demographic pressures and emerging government support in ways that create the possibility of a new burst of entrepreneurial vigor." - Bill Emmott, Former Editor-in-Chief, The Economist

"Richard Katz looks beyond Japan's institutional rigidities, complacency, and aversion to risk to explore important new 'megatrends' that hold the possibility of a rebirth of the entrepreneurial spirit that fueled postwar Japan's economic miracle. Hopeful, insightful, and written with verve, The Contest for Japan's Economic Future deserves to be read by anyone concerned about Japan's future trajectory." - Gerald Curtis, Columbia University

"Richard Katz provides a fresh, up-to-date analysis of an important topic that has bewitched two generations of scholars. While many have proposed that the solution to Japan's economic problems lies in reforming the big incumbents, Katz argues that generating a host of new companies is at least as indispensable." - Zoltan Acs, George Mason University

"This important new book challenges the conventional thinking that Japan is doomed to suffer from a paucity of entrepreneurship. Rather, its penetrating analysis of significant contemporary developments provides a compelling case for an entrepreneurial renaissance in Japan." - David Audretsch, Author of Creating Competitiveness: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policies for Growth

Product details

ISBN : 9780197675106

Richard Katz
360 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Dec 2023
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The Contest for Japan's Economic Future: Entrepreneurs vs Corporate Giants

The Contest for Japan's Economic Future: Entrepreneurs vs Corporate Giants

The Contest for Japan's Economic Future: Entrepreneurs vs Corporate Giants