cover image Japan: Who Governs?: The Rise of the Development State

Japan: Who Governs?: The Rise of the Development State

Chalmers A. Johnson. W. W. Norton & Company, $25 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-393-03739-5

In one of these provocative essays, which have appeared previously in other publications, Johnson (Miti and the Japanese Miracle), professor of international relations at the Univ. of California, San Diego, describes how a misinterpreted nuance of the Japanese language led to a prolongation of WWII and the atomic bombing of two Japanese cities. He believes that the difficulties of the Japanese language for Westerners require a greater understanding of the dissimilar cultures, which, he points out, most American commentators lack. He blames the prominent role of U.S. economists in policymaking for our misunderstanding of the Japanese value system and Japan's ``capitalist development state.'' For all the fear of state control bruited about in the U.S., Chalmers points out, Japan's great wealth, highly educated workforce, low-cost health care and low unemployment result precisely because Japan's economy is planned. Other essays explore the growing commonality of interests between Japan and its giant neighbor, China, and the implications for the West. A lucid and enlightening account of the U.S. relationship with Japan and its prospects. (Mar.)