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PSCI-3193 International Behavior, Japanese Trade Policy

PSCI-3193 International Behavior, Japanese Trade Policy -...

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PSCI-3193 May 7, 2009 Japanese Trade Policy Japan has been a great example of economic success in the years following WWII. Japan’s economic and trade relationship with the U.S. has done several things for the region. First it has created a bilateral relationship between what be- came the worlds two largest and most successful economies that has been to the benefit of both countries and allowed Japan to remain a non-military, strictly eco- nomic power in the region. Second, it has drawn the U.S. influence into the region, providing stability in East Asia. Japan’s economy has had its ups and downs, however it has remained largely strong and continues to grow and change. This pa- per will explore how Japan’s economy continues to be successful and some of the changes that are currently underway in the country. Japan was first propped up by the post WWII U.S. occupation and then be- came a major U.S. trading partner through bilateral trade agreements. However, in recent years Japan has begun to explore free trade agreements with many other East Asian countries. Japan has long been seen as a protectionist country, defend- ing its domestic markets against foreign investment competition. The continuing push toward liberalization of the Japanese economy and expanded free trade agree- ments appears to have been successful so far. Free-Trade economic policies have, for some time now, been an international trend, and a policy point for western democracies, but will this policy be successful in Japan? Why have we seen the re- sent shifts, from U.S. dependence, to multilateralism, to bilateral free-trade coming 1
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PSCI-3193 May 7, 2009 from Japan's trade policy? This paper will examine the process of Japan's trade liberalization and analyze the prospects for free-trade policies in Japan. Japan’s Trade Policy Background In order to understand the Japan's current trends surrounding free-trade policy we must first examine how Japan reached a point in its development where free-trade, and economic liberalization domestically may be beneficial to Japan's best interests. Japan's trade policy during the rapid growth period of the 1960s and 70s was dominated by constant, yet regulated, bilateral trade with the United States. It appears that the U.S. and Japan had developed a symbiotic relationship, however the economic and political relationship has not yet developed into a free- trade agreement. Japan did not become an economic super power overnight. However, Japan- ese products have preformed very well in the international market, especially in the U.S. Japan’s economic success is often attributed to successful export structure and it is a common claim that Japan’s economic success can be partly attributed to policies the could be seen as limiting to competition (Porter, Sakaibara, 27). The claim is that Japan’s government excised stringent controls over trade regulation, allowing Japanese products to dominate both the import and export markets. However, it appears that those industries that were protected by government regu-
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PSCI-3193 International Behavior, Japanese Trade Policy -...

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