Japan. In March, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (CPTPP) was signed by a total of eleven Pacific countries, including Japan, Canada, Mexico and Australia. The agreement was negotiated since the US withdrew from TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) in early 2017. The same month, the Japanese government criticized the US decision to impose tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) and in June, criticism was repeated at a meeting with the G7 countries. The Japanese government highlighted the negative consequences that US tariffs would have, partly for relations between countries and partly for global trade. In July, Japan signed a free trade agreement with the EU. The main Japanese export goods to Europe are cars, while Japan imports large quantities of dairy products from the EU.
In July, according to Countryaah.com, Tokyo is the capital city of Japan, a country located in Eastern Asia. The country was hit by the worst floods since the beginning of the 1980s. Extremely extensive rain areas over mainly southwestern Japan caused up to 2 meters of deep water collections and caused extensive landslides. At least 225 people lost their lives. Later that month, the state weather authority classified the ongoing heat wave as a natural disaster. The record heat caused over 80 people’s death.
In early July, seven members of the religious doomsday sect Aum Shinrikyo were executed, who in 1995 carried out an attack with the nerve gas sarin in Tokyo’s subway. Among those executed were sect leader Shoko Asahara, who was sentenced to death in 2004. Later in July, six more sect members were executed. The attack cost eight people lives and hundreds were injured by the volatile nerve gas.
In August, the Ministry of Defense presented its budget. This meant more money than ever for the defense and included, among other things, improved air defense and more aircraft. The reason for the efforts was stated to be the increased threats from North Korea and China.
In September, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held elections for the presidency. The incumbent leader, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was challenged by former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba. With 553 votes against 254, Abe was re-elected by a wide margin for another three-year term. In early October, he appointed a new government. Only one of the 19 ministers was a woman.
… even after World War II
The country was probably beaten militarily, but it only took ten years to re-establish the economic cycles in a way that led to steady growth and trade balance. The method was the same as before, but this time clearly within the capitalist, more than rules of power politics. From the West, technology – patents and licenses – continued to be introduced, but the payment was increasingly advanced industrial products. From the third world came the raw materials. Especially from Southeast Asia but also from countries such as the USA, Australia and the Soviet Union, which in turn got slightly less advanced industrial products. No country in the world has practiced the old British liberalism rule on: “only raw materials in, only finished goods” better than Japan. The result is familiar to everyone: Japanese products have increasingly filled stores around the world. It has not lacked aggressive reactions to the Japanese penetration of other markets and to the competition of Western firms. In the 1960s, Japanese products were accused of being cheap imitators, but today Japanese research in many areas outweighs the Western, the quality is in most cases higher due to the Japanese’s development of advanced quality control systems and the goods cheaper due to high productivity – or due to dumping based on the desire to push competitors out of the markets.
In 1947, the occupying power drafted a new constitution for Japan that was accepted internally, and in 1952 the country regained its independence. It gained supremacy over the Tokara archipelago in 1951, the Amami islands in 53, the Bonin islands in 68, and the remains of Ryukyu – including Okinawa – in 72. The constitution imposed a number of restrictions on the development of a Japanese military. During the post-war period, Japan adhered to the US strategy in the region and entered into alliances with Taiwan and South Korea.
SCAP tried in various ways to weaken the Meiji family state. Among other things. by allowing the farmers to buy the land they cultivated. Until then, ownership had remained with the nobility. The peasants could rent it against paying a levy. Furthermore, SCAP implemented a number of laws aimed at promoting free trade and preventing the re-establishment of monopolies, but the financial system remained intact and was the basis for the development of new monopolies when the occupation ended.
In 1955, the center-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was formed and faced the conservative and nationalist forces that had been driving the country’s war politics. Until the 1990s, the LDP retained its majority in parliament and thus the government power in the country. In 56, the country joined the UN and resumed relations with the Soviet Union.
Agricultural production on the small farms was becoming less profitable, forcing more farmers into the cities in search of work. Continued industrialization was therefore constantly supplied with new labor. During the 1960s, Japan increasingly focused on the development of high-tech products, and the international capitalist crisis that began in 1973 was unable to slow the growth of Japanese industry, which became dominant in steel, ships, electronics and cars.
Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka’s visit to Beijing in 1972 marked Japan’s recognition of the People’s Republic, and at the same time severed relations with Taiwan. Later it emerged that Tanaka was bribed by Marubeni Corp. – a branch of the North American Lockheed Aircraft Corp. It had a decisive negative impact on the support for the LDP, which lost its absolute majority in parliament for the first time in the 76 elections.
As early as the 1960s, Japan had a large surplus on the trade balance vis-à-vis the United States. Gradually, the country took first or second place as a trading partner with the countries it had relations with. In parallel, its investments and subsidiaries spread throughout the world.
The Japanese corporate structure is dominated by the Sogo-Shosha system, there are some huge conglomerates aimed at selling the Japanese products in virtually all countries of the world. They have large amounts of market information that can be quickly decided on.
The Japanese chain of islands extends in a long arc from north (45th parallel) to south (20th parallel). Therefore, the climate in Japan is very different; from the cold-temperate climate zone in Hokkaidō with cold and snowy winters to the subtropics in Okinawa Prefecture. In addition, there is the influence of winds – in winter from the Asian continent to the sea and in summer from the sea to the continent. In late June and early July, a large part of the annual precipitation falls in the south as a monsoon-like rain front (梅雨 前線,baiu zensen).The typhoon season begins in early summer, and the south and southwest of Japan in particular are affected by cyclones over the Pacific Ocean. Statistically, Japan has most typhoons in September, although they are most common in the Pacific in August.
The winds also contribute to Japan’s increased exposure to transnational pollution.