At one time, Japan had lost everything after defeat in WWII. The capital, Tokyo and other major cities lay in burnt-out ruins from airstrikes.
However, the Japanese economy rose from the ashes like a phoenix.
In particular, miraculous rapid economic growth continued after Prime Minister Ikeda’s cabinet worked out an income-doubling plan in 1960, and Japan ultimately developed into one of the world’s leading manufacturing nations. Of course, that process was not all smooth sailing. As the saying goes, “The higher the mountain, the greater the fall.” The “Izanagi economic boom” that began with the issuance of construction bonds came to an end due to financial tightening and a collapse of capital investment. Two oil shocks caused crude oil prices to skyrocket. In Japan, which relies almost entirely on imported oil, the phrase “wild price spiral” was coined, and the country recorded its first post-war negative growth. Moreover, following the Plaza Accord in 1985, the yen exchange rate suddenly jumped to the 120-yen level against the dollar, after having held at the 240-yen level. The export-driven Japanese economy was hit hard. However, our forebears utilized their knowledge and diligently worked to overcome the difficulties.
Today’s affluent lifestyles only exist because of the crystallization of the wisdom and sweat of those who came before us.
Currently, Japan is facing extremely tough times caused by factors that include a global economic downturn said to occur once every 100 years, the development of emerging nations such as BRICs, and the advent of an aging society coupled with a low birth rate. The entire country of Japan is at risk of sinking without proper leadership. Will Japan somehow be able to once again rise from the ashes? What guideposts should Japan follow, and in what direction?
Is it not that continuing path from the past that presents guideposts to our future?
Isn’t now the time we should learn from that path taken by our predecessors?
SHOWA KASEI Co., Ltd. asked our predecessors, who have walked in our shoes and led Japan’s high growth period in various fields, to share their beliefs and personal histories with us, and have made them available here.
* La strada” means “path” in Italian.
Kawasumi Laboratories, Inc. President & Chief Executive Officer
Naniwa Rubber Co., Ltd. President & Representative Director
Sogo Plastics Co., Ltd. President & Representative Director
Sumitomo Electric Industrial Wire & Cable Inc. President & Representative Director
Nippon Seisen Cable, Ltd. President & Representative Director
Chubu Kagaku Co., Ltd. President
Kansai Tsushin Densen Co., Ltd President & CEO
TSUDA Electric Wire & Cable President
Kuramo Electric Co., Ltd. President and Director
Yukita Electric Wire Co., Ltd. President
Emori & Co., Ltd. President and CEO
Hirakawa Hewtech Corp. President and Representative Director
Taiyo Cabletec Corporation Chairperson
Sankyo Kasei Co., Ltd. President and Representative Director
Kawasaki Electric Wire Co., Ltd Chairman