The Power to Compete

The Power to Compete : An Economist and an Entrepreneur on Revitalizing Japan in the Global Economy

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"If you're as interested in Japan as I am, I think you'll find that The Power to Compete is a smart and thought-provoking look at the future of a fascinating country." - Bill Gates, "5 Books to Read This Summer" Father and son entrepreneur and economist search for Japan's economic cure The Power to Compete tackles the issues central to the prosperity of Japan and the world in search of a cure for the "Japan Disease." As founder and CEO of Rakuten, one of the world's largest Internet companies, author Hiroshi Mikitani brings an entrepreneur's perspective to bear on the country's economic stagnation. Through a freewheeling and candid conversation with his economist father, Ryoichi Mikitani, the two examine the issues facing Japan, and explore possible roadmaps to revitalization. How can Japan overhaul its economy, education system, immigration, public infrastructure, and hold its own with China? Their ideas include applying business techniques like Key Performance Indicators to fix the economy, using information technology to cut government bureaucracy, and increasing the number of foreign firms with a head office in Japan.
Readers gain rare insight into Japan's future, from both academic and practical perspectives on the inside. Mikitani argues that Japan's tendency to shun international frameworks and hide from global realities is the root of the problem, while Mikitani Sr.'s background as an international economist puts the issue in perspective for a well-rounded look at today's Japan. * Examine the causes of Japan's endless economic stagnation * Discover the current efforts underway to enhance Japan's competitiveness * Learn how free market "Abenomics" affected Japan's economy long-term * See Japan's issues from the perspective of an entrepreneur and an economist Japan's malaise is seated in a number of economic, business, political, and cultural issues, and this book doesn't shy away from hot topics. More than a discussion of economics, this book is a conversation between father and son as they work through opposing perspectives to help their country find The Power to Compete.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 161 x 228 x 22mm | 424g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1. Auflage
  • 1119000602
  • 9781119000600
  • 71,993

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Throughout its history, Japan has had a strong sense of its political, economic, and cultural individuality. This pride in the Japanese tradition has been one of the nation's greatest strengths--and one of its greatest weaknesses. In a world of connection, collaboration, and rapid exchange, Japan is falling behind. This is the reality readers must confront in The Power to Compete, a truly one-of-a-kind book with a sensitive approach to the most pressing issues faced by Asia's island nation.

The authors and protagonists of The Power to Compete are Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and CEO of one of Japan's largest Internet companies, and his father Ryoichi Mikitani, a leading Japanese economist. In this series of long-form conversations between them, the perspectives of father and son come together to uncover the path forward that will allow Japan to slough off its decades-long stagnation.

Combining hard-hitting analysis with a little light banter, The Power to Compete is an enjoyable read that nonetheless presents important revelations and recommendations. Mikitani, Sr., who passed away shortly before the publication of this book, was a Harvard-educated international economist who studied under Nobel Prize winners and made important contributions to Japanese economic theory. His understanding of Abenomics, the free market economic reform plan of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, provides a depth to The Power to Compete that is lacking in many other books on the topic. Mikitani, Jr., on the other hand, has the practical experience to know how the Japanese business world will be affected if the nation fails to evolve.

Through their conversations, Mikitani, Sr., and Mikitani, Jr., arrive at a series of conclusions that will inspire readers to work on the international stage for Japan's development. Summarized concisely at the end of each chapter, these conclusions range from implementing business strategies like key performance indicators to using technological advancements in an effort to reform and modernize childhood education.

The authors of this book do not suggest that Japan should change. Instead, they show how Japan can use its historical strengths and strong national identity to create an economic platform to return to competitiveness in the global arena. The Power to Compete is a cross-generational conversation that should engage a new group of entrepreneurs and officials in the process of creating a future for Japan that is both peaceful and prosperous.
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Back cover copy

A Penetrating, Sensitive, and Engaging Analysis of the Road to a Brighter Future for Japan

The Japanese economy needs a jump-start. This is not an indictment, but rather an honest assessment of reality. The Power to Compete is a conversation between two of the men most qualified to discuss the situation: a CEO of one of the world's largest Internet companies and his father, a leading international economist and longtime Kobe University professor.

Between Hiroshi and Ryoichi Mikitani, there is a depth of understanding--both of global issues and of the Japanese identity--that makes their conversations stimulating, informative, and even transformational. In each chapter of The Power to Compete, father and son tackle complex issues with intelligence and humor, arriving at a series of recommendations for the future that have the power to inspire a generation of readers to work for a more prosperous Japan. Their ideas are ambitious, wide-ranging, and often controversial, but they aren't shy about presenting them.

Internationally, Japan has a reputation of resisting foreign ideas and isolating itself from progress. To change this image and cure "the Japan Disease," members of all generations need to work together. The Power to Compete is an inspiring book that will show you how to take the history and traditions of Japan onto the global stage.

"Hiroshi Mikitani is not only an important business leader in Japan, but, along with his late father, Ryoichi, someone who has done a tremendous amount of strategic thinking on the Japanese economy, its history and its recovery. Mikitani-san is a shining example for up and coming innovators and entrepreneurs across Japan who will be critical to Japan's economy and, in turn, the U.S.-Japan relationship for years to come."
-- John V. Roos, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan

"Ryoichi Mikitani was one of Japan's most thoughtful and probing economists, and Hiroshi is today probably Japan's most dynamic entrepreneur. And Ryoichi clearly passed on to his son a deep Japanese patriotism in the finest sense. Everyone who wishes Japan well should hope that the ideas they shared will receive the widest attention among the country's government and people."
-- Benjamin M. Friedman, William Joseph Maier Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University, and author of The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth
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Table of contents

Introduction Japan Again ix Chapter 1 The Power to Innovate 1 Japan Again 1 The Keys to Revitalizing Japan 4 Keidanren s Raison D etre 7 The Nature of Innovation 11 Schumpeter s Contribution 15 Building Infrastructure 19 Business Innovation 23 Summary 27 Chapter 2 The Power to Operate 29 Workforce Fluidity 29 Privatization 33 Lifetime Employment 37 Escaping Lifetime Employment 40 Immigration Problems 43 Why English Needs to Be a Common Language in Japan 45 Growing the Population 50 Summary 53 Chapter 3 The Power in Questioning Abenomics 55 History of Abenomics 55 Independence in Finance 59 The Optimal Inflation Rate 62 Halting the Rise of Interest Rates 65 What to Do About Our 1-Quadrillion-Yen Debt 67 The Pros and Cons of Abenomics 70 Summary 75 Chapter 4 The Power of the Low-Cost State 77 The High Cost of Governance 77 How to Reform the High-Cost Structure 83 Addressing the Japanese Disease 87 The United States and Individualism 92 The Impotent Bureaucracy 95 Internationalizing the Bureaucracy 99 Creating Think Tanks 103 Political Appointees 106 What It Will Take to Improve the Bureaucracy 109 Summary 111 Chapter 5 The Power to Succeed Overseas 113 The Decline in the Number of Students Studying Abroad 113 Escaping from the Galapagos Effect 118 The Future of Journalism 121 Media in the Internet Era 125 The Importance of Liberal Arts 131 Ryoichi Mikitani s Experiences Abroad 134 Summary 137 Chapter 6 The Power to Educate 139 Uniform Japanese Education 139 The Education of the Mikitani Family 141 What the Education System Needs 146 Higher Education 151 What People Study in University 154 The Founding of Rakuten 157 The Evaluation System for Teachers 160 The Need for Strategy in the Japanese Education System 162 Summary 168 Chapter 7 The Power to Build Brand Japan 169 Brand Power 169 The Demonstration Effect 174 Brand Value at the National Level 178 Foreign Nationals Working in Japan 183 Making Japan Attractive to Foreign Nationals 186 Japan and the Trans-Pacific Partnership 189 Summary 195 Conclusion What Is the Power to Compete? 197 Japan Uniquely Incorporates and Interprets Cultures 197 Competitiveness as a Platform 200 The Global Logistics Revolution 202 Summary 205 Epilogue 207 Acknowledgments 211 Index 213
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About Hiroshi Mikitani

HIROSHI MIKITANI is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Rakuten, Inc., one of the world's largest Internet companies. The firm has operations in 28 countries and customers all over the world. RYOICHI MIKITANI was a leading Japanese economist who worked and studied at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Kobe University and made important contributions in his work with the Japan Society for Monetary Economics. Ryoichi was also a prolific and respected author.
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272 ratings
3.55 out of 5 stars
5 16% (44)
4 38% (102)
3 35% (95)
2 8% (23)
1 3% (8)
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