Japan has Grown to the World's Second Largest Economy

Japan has grown to the world's second-largest economy?
Why have India and Indonesia been unable to match its success?

Japan had invested a large amount of money into capital equipment and other infrastructure after the Korean War. The gross national product had soared at a rate of 10 percent annually. By 1970, the national income was six times larger than Japan’s prewar income. (Commentary Lesson 15) To spur industrial growth, Japan created the Ministry of International Trade and industry in 1949. This government agency assists Japanese businesses to greater growth. Japanese industrialists invested their profits overseas, becoming the world’s largest creditor nation in 1986. However, in the 1990s, Japanese economy slipped into a recession and suffered due to the “Asian technology flu” of 1997, as foreign investors fled Japan as well. (Commentary Lesson 15)

Economic growth slowed during the 1990s, dropping to less than 2 percent per year. This has led to a decline in cooperation among businesses and the Japanese practice of lifetime employment for workers. The government is also privatizing financial industries. “Nonetheless, Japan is the world’s third largest economy. In 2005, the gross domestic product per person in Japan was $30,400 according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency.” (Commentary Lesson 15)

Southeast Asia did not take as drastic of a change. In 1967, several non-Communist countries had established the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Composed of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, ASEAN at first concentrated on cooperative social and economic endeavors, but after the end of the Vietnam War, it cooperated with other states in an effort to force the Vietnamese to withdraw from Cambodia. Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Brunei have joined the original five countries and cooperated militarily and politically, which has helped provide the nations of Southeast Asia with a more cohesive voice to represent their interests on the world stage. (Duiker 287) Indonesia has a collectivist economic system and is one of the leading producers of oil and spices.

While the notion of equality was seemingly achievable in the best intentions of the law, there was little enforcement of the constitution in areas that were economically depressed or unrepresented by policing forces. Nehru tried to create equal jobs for people regardless of race or gender. There was a great focus on the industries of textiles, steel, and cars. For a while, the economy of India significantly increased in total production amounts and the income for the citizens also increased.

“India created a new constitution that included social justice, equality of status, opportunity, and fraternity. All citizens of the country were protected from discrimination on the grounds of religion belief, race, caste, gender, or place of birth”. (Duiker 276) To combat rural poverty, Gandhi “nationalized banks, provided loans to peasants on easy terms, built low-cost housing, distributed land to the landless, and introduced electoral reforms to enfranchise the poor”. (Duiker 273, 274)