Cover of The Business Reinvention of Japan by Ulrike Schaede
The Business Reinvention of Japan
How to Make Sense of the New Japan and Why It Matters
Ulrike Schaede


June 2020
216 pages.

Cloth ISBN: 9781503612259



After two decades of restructuring, Japan is re-emerging as a major player in the new digital economy. Japanese firms now anchor many global supply chains with technology leadership in advanced components and materials, and quietly global manufacturing has become dependent on Japanese inputs. Lucrative new markets for corporate assets and consumer products are opening up within Japan. Japan offers an alternative model of 'caring capitalism' that is both competitive and more socially adaptable than the U.S. 'slash-and-burn' approach. This book offers an in-depth exploration of current Japanese business strategies that make Japan the world's third largest economy, a chief contributor to many global supply chains, and an economic leader within Asia. It also shows how Japan is reinventing its systems of employment, governance, and innovation to compete in the digital transformation. Central to the book is that Japan's reinvention has been triggered by the rise of China and the globalization of supply chains. To compete, Japan has built deep technology competencies in critical inputs and components, while enhancing its core strengths in manufacturing and system engineering. The results of this repositioning are reflected in a new 'aggregated niche strategy' in which Japanese firms dominate many critical niches for essential components and specialized materials. The measured pace has put Japan on a trajectory different from the U.S., toward a system of capitalism with social stability.

About the author

Ulrike Schaede is Professor of Japanese Business at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego.