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          A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  Japan 2
        Japan 2

Looking at Japan on a large scale map of the world, it looks so small. If you look a little closer, you'll see that it's a bit bigger than Germany, and is, would you believe, made up of 3500 islands. If you consider, that they have twice as many inhabitants, and that the country is very mountainous, one arrives at a substantially higher population density. However, the number of inhabitants is decreasing through the very high average age of the Japanese. Another reason is the absence of immigration. The Japanese keep virtually to themselves.

As far as the political structure is concerned, Japan is described as a democracy led by an (always male) emporer. For many years after the second world war, theLiberal Democratic Party was, by and large, responsible for the political direction and also the economic development, similar to the CDU in Germany, although for somewhat longer, until about 1993.

At any rate, Japan is the second most powerful economic power in the world, lying two places before Germany and behind the USA, indeed, not only the western world, but also Asia plays an essential part in their export economy. However, during the boom period. an important part of their economic activity took place through the relocation of production capacities in foreign countries. One can assume, that this development contributed to the critical situation after about 1990. Further reasons are, the long period in which the state held all the strings and possibly, together with the large amount of borrowed capital, without sufficient securities, which led to a drastic public debt.

Up until then however, Japan had experienced an economic miracle which lasted longer than the one in Germany. Its economic development kicked in much later, after the second world war. The lack of raw materials is also similar. Thus, they depend on ports and harbours, not only for the industrial export. There are of course, also favourable factors. One of these factors is the Ministry for Trade and Industry. At this time, some very drastic directives came from the MIT, however they did also provide assistance in the building up of a successful industry.

Favourable for a country without raw materials, is the Japanese education system. Similar to most parts of the world, they go to elementary school for 6 years which is followed by three secondary- and three high school years. Japan has a national (central) school board, and all-day schooling is usual. However, the very stringent university entrance examination is well known, which can sometimes lead to exhaustion right at the beginning of university. Perhaps the relatively large media landscape fits well into this type of elite school system.

Up to the time of the great crisis, the principle of lifelong affiliation and loyalty to a (big-) company was the unspoken standard for male employees. In the meantime however, Japan is also experiencing up to 5% unemployment. Indeed the workers still have a comradeship, also after work. Together with the partly high rents and the long distances they have to travel, there is an above average absence of working people from their homes. Added to this, is the annual holidays regulation, which seldom permits more than 8 to 10 days of leave. In the meantime, Japan also has time-sharing jobs, and the respective negative results.

Due to the generally, relatively high wages and also the high cost of living, one can compare it, to a certain extent, with Germany, this is definitely not the case as far as the transport system is concerned. The railway system is exceptionally well developed with a punctuality that, measured on our situation, is quite unbelievable. The 1964 Shinkansen, is by far the oldest high-speed train in the world. Unfortunately, this positive judgement cannot be given to the urban transport system. Commuters have a harder time in Japan than they do in Germany. The traffic problems in and around Tokyo are particularly bad. The subways and suburban trains transport about 8.7 million passengers per day, which are pressed into the wagons from "pushers" with white gloves. Capacity utilization of trains to 199 percent is not uncommon.

This is also due to the roads- and street system, which could not keep up with the rapid development of motor car traffic. The speed limit in Japan is 100 km/h, in the greater areas around the cities, it's limited to 50km/h. The tailbacks are so long that a large amount of the Japanese don't use their cars or use them for only a part of the journey. It's not unusual that a car does only a quarter of the mileage compared with those in Germany. The influence from the outside, for example, through tourism is so low that even in the eighties of the last century, there were still no attempt at least on all motorways to offer signs in a form comprehensible to Europeans or Americans. After all, the Arabic numerical format is common.

No driver's license from the mentioned countries is recognized, which of course fits to the only by Japanese to understand signage. Speedings will be punished hard and right on the spot. Who wants to drive more than 100 km/h, often has to go to distant private routes. The rules of the Japanese TÜV are apparently just as hard, so that the, of course, render a service to the automobile industry. If you leave the motorway, country roads are rarely to cope with an average above 50 km/h. Too narrow and especially too many solid center lines. If you were not driven by the previously described situation into the train or the plane, then perhaps from the many road and tunnel tolls. The search for typical Japanese accessories should be prepared professionally, because typical Japanese hotels are spontaneously locally hard to find. Also, not typical Japanese and on top of that very expensive restaurants. Thus, the search often ends at the much cheaper self-service. Typical of Japan is probably the relatively low space requirement of the people also in the hotel.

At this point once again will pointed to the super punctual operation of Japanese trains, because the traffic situation seems to have not necessarily improved. Meanwhile, it is of course quite possible, for example, to drive a car in Japan as Europeans, if it is really possible. But a train stops so accurate that already in advance queues can form, even when from a station platform several trains starts in a row. Therefore, comparable to Germany is only the transport of goods by rail, which is still rather sparse in Japan. 05/14               Top of page               Index
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Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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