At over one thousand trillion yen, Japan’s debts at present are the worst in the world, far more even than when Greece went bankrupt. However, they mostly come from national bonds issued by the bank of Japan and most of these bonds are held by Japanese banks. On the other hand, Japan has been the world’s number one creditor nation for 27 consecutive years (figures from 2017). The net amount of Japan’s credit exceeds three hundred trillion yen. The world’s second biggest creditor is Germany, followed by China. Japan’s total household financial assets exceeds one thousand eight hundred trillion yen. In other words, if you think of Japan as a family, you might say that while it has a huge amount of debt, its assets outweigh that amount. Since 2010, Japan’s actual GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has been ranked third in the world after China, but before that Japan was second only to the USA for 42 years straight. After 1945 when World War II ended, the Japanese people were suffering from a famine and received food aid from the USA. So that the economy could recover, the government concentrated on the production of coal and iron, while distributing daily necessities to people like a socialist country. The Korean War broke out in 1950, and Japan produced supplies for the American army, setting the country off on the road to recovery. The USA had been occupying Japan and demanded that Japan rearm to join the fight against communism. However, Japan adopted a policy that favored economic recovery, so instead offered the American forces military bases from which they could defend Japan. Lacking in natural resources, Japan began exporting light industrial products such as fabric and gradually moved to heavy industry, such as shipbuilding, and the production of iron and steel. In the 1960s Japan’s economy started to grow. As electronic household appliances such as TVs, washing machines and refrigerators became widespread, people’s lifestyles became more luxurious. In the 1980s, when many creative corporations produced unique new products, Japan entered a golden age. In terms of corporate culture, the Japanese system attracted attention from all over the world. Placing importance on seniority and the provision of employment for life, it is a culture in which employees are joined together by a common sense of destiny. After that, because there was so much extra money flying around, corporations and individuals were gripped by a fever for investment in real estate and the stock market, a situation that lead to the bubble economy. Japanese corporate culture took a huge blow when the bubble burst and the Japanese economy went into freefall, however, it still remains a great economic power to this day.
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