Description: Japan will recover and its economic achievements will once again earn the world's admiration, with sustained annual growth of three percent, perhaps more, well within reach. This is the confident forecast that begins Japanese Phoenix: The Long Road to Economic Revival by the author of Japan: The System That Soured, which several years ago accurately predicted Japan's current travails at a time when others were prematurely pronouncing full recovery.
Nevertheless, Katz warns that there is bad news to go with the good. So deep-seated are Japan's dysfunctions that, even if it did everything right today, it would take at least five years for truly vibrant growth to take hold. But Japn will not do everything right. Opposition to reform is deep-seated and a myriad of vested interests and millions of jobs are at stake. Still he notes, there is little doubt that reform will succeed.
Japanese Phoenix tells the story of the struggle between the forces of reform and the forces of resistance. It dissects Prime Minister Koizumi's role in the process, and explains why Japan is in so much trouble and what needs to be done. It explore the debates among economists and gives a careful progress report on all the moves made so far in the name of reform -- from greater direct foreign investment, to the financial "Big Bang", to ending one-party rule by the Liberal Democratic Party. Katz concludes that this is just the second round of a 15-round fight. Japan is a great nation currently trapped in obsolete institutions. As it has before, Japan will find a way to surmount its problems and regain its forward progress.
Review(s): "Richard Katz sets out his argument at the outset of his lucid and persuasive book, Japanese Phoenix. ... Katz boldly predicts that Japan's per-capita gross domestic product will grow faster than that of the United States. Not only that, its revolution in information technology will outspace America's, its inefficient industries will rise to world benchmarks, and sustained growth of 3% is within reach. ... In these days of seemingly unending toxic political and economic news out of Japan, Katz's book is a whiff of oxygen, predicting relief for not only the Japanese but for all other economies affected by Japan." -- Far Eastern Economic Review
"In this provocative and thoughtful study, Richard Katz boldly forecasts recovery beginning in 2010. ... Most of this excellent book analyzes the reasons for the current malaise, the problem of various "remedies" and the substantial obstacles to recovery. The cautious optimism embraced in "Japanese Phoenix" is appealing ... the bullish and brash tone of "Japanese Phoenix" will stir strong criticisms and debates. I suspect Katz will get the last laugh." -- The Japan Times
"This macroeconomic triage faces Japan as its economy, second only to that of the United States, sinks deeper into a 12-year funk, and Mr. Katz does an admirable job of describing the carnage. His prose is accessible, is well supported by facts and is divided into easily digestible chapters." -- The New York Times
"...as this journalist explains, politicians and executives fear an economic overhaul because of the mass unemployment that would surely follow - an anxiety heightened by the inadequacies of Japan's social safety net. Still, this sober and trechant book predicts an eventual economic revival toward the decade's end." -- Harvard Business Review
"Richard Katz...has written an excellent new book on Japan tackling the nagging question about whether Asia's largest economy will recover from the legacy of problems caused during the 1980s. ...critical reading for anyone interested in Japan." -- Asian Business Watch
"...a succinct, powerful account of the institutionalized nature of Japan's problems in general and the 'dual economy' in particular. ... for anyone who wants an accessible introduction to the causes of Japan's economic malaise and the prospects for recovery, this is one of the best places to start." -- Pacific Affairs, Vol.77 No.2