Even the Fukushima-catastrophe does not change the fact that Japan counts itself to the most important industrial nations in the world. However, it still has a large part of it's capital tied up in foreign countries. Even though the power of the Ministery for International Treaty and Industry is not what it once was, indeed, in the past it was even less influential than it appeared from the outside. It can only employ it's gigantic analysis- and research aparatus to advise companies with a view to stimulate possibilities. The MITI has no actual power, in the sense of judgements deemed to be correct, and basically receives no subsidies either.
The Japanese are, in principle, said to be not particularly inventive, this can, thus generalised, also lead to nasty predjudices. Perhaps more fitting, is that in this country the high pressure go-getter mentality is not really appreciated. Even the Prime Minister shows himself as being modest or humble, that company managers sometimes wear the same clothes as their factory workers is nothing out of the ordinary. During the reporting about Fukushima, we were able to see, how restraint and discipline had a pacifying affect on the gradual coping with the disaster.
Patents do not always contain breakthroughs or pioneering work, thus Japan can still be on top of the pile, despite the fact that they didn't invent the combustion engine. At any rate, their advantage e.g., in the field of hybrid technology, is still perceptible, despite the fact that the Toyota company has had to accept setbacks. The strength of their engineers still seems to lie in the analysing and precise elimination of errors. By the way, just because they appear to be a modest people, does not in any way mean that they are an undemanding nation.
Here in Germany one would describe this as a civic virtue, the will to present something, to play a political and an economic role, as a state and also as an individual. One should not be led astray by the statements that are made. As the case often is, the larger claim often appears in a modest form. One has to ask oneself sometimes, whether a certain amount of power-posing can perhaps do more harm than good. Diplomacy is almost always the better counselor.
The Japanese worker serves the cause with the pride of a British butler. He does not feel degraded for doing this, quite the opposite, e.g., to some Central Europeans, who, at the slightest constraint, fell that their personal developement is being limited. The Japanese (again, too great a generalisation) measures him/herself on the given task and suffers, if he/she cannot do it justice. To become personally involved with a task, and if it flops out, not to divert from the actual situation, is considered in our environment, as being an unnecessary stress factor. Perhaps we've forgotton how cleansing a 'disgrace' can be.
Unfortunately, in the somewhat 'feudalistic' way of thinking in Japan, the woman is still not taken seriously. She is even less represented in managerial positions than is the case in even the most conservative western countries. Thereby, in view of the rapidly ageing Japanese society and the lack of immigration, this would seem urgently necessary. In such generalisation, one should not be blind to the fact that the youth in Japan is clearly leaning towards the western way of life. In this case the international networking is probably cancelling out the differences in education and upbringing, with all the advantages and disadvantages.
Further special characteristics can be dealt with quickly. To come back to the previous subject, also the non-admission of foreign top-managers in commerce is obvious. The sanctions laid down by foreign policy after the last war apparently allow the Japanese only modest military spending. As far as the lack of raw materials is concerned, Japan could possibly be compared with Germany. Despite the very big differences in mentality, they have a good relationship with the USA. Indeed, for the Europeans it's quite easily forgotten that actually, across the Pacific, the two countries are neighbours. 04/12