Japan: Beyond the End of History by David Williams

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By David Williams

In Japan: past the top of heritage , David Williams examines Japan's value, either in reality and in conception, for the Western traditions of political philosophy and practice--from Adam Smith and Hegel to the French deconstructionists and ultra-modern ''end of history'' theorists. He covers matters starting from the economic coverage of the founders of the Meiji nation to George Bush's ill-fated ''Tokyo primary'' and the delivery of the Clinton presidency.

The ebook examines Francis Fukuyama's recognized argument that with the cave in of Soviet communism, the single workable approach on humanity's horizon is liberal democratic capitalism within the Anglo-American mildew. this means that East Asian mercantilism, state-led and infrequently authoritarian, is doomed. Williams considers another idea: that Japanese-style nationalist improvement bargains a miles larger problem to Western idea and values than the fallen platforms of jap Europe ever represented.

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These talks became the lynchpin of the Bush administration’s trade policy towards Japan from 1989. Despite a window-dressing of reciprocity, the negotiations were not in fact about how the USA and Japan could structurally change their economies, but rather about how the Japanese could alter theirs to ease the mammoth current account trade deficit between the two countries. The Japanese surplus offended Washington because, after years of effort by the Reagan administration to erode Japan’s advantage in trade, America’s deficit still averaged around $40 billion during Bush’s first three years in office.

During its modernization drive, Japan’s elite has had to endure revolt, assassination and mute but palpable public disaffection because of the conscious choice of the Meiji modernizers and their successors to pursue a secular, materialist and anti-idealistic course. It has been the singular achievement of this elite to prevent the conflicting axes of national belief from grinding the political centre to dust. Failure has threatened more than once. Japanese and Western liberals tend to frown on the troublesome side of such cultural idealism.

This book rejects that assumption. On the contrary, it seeks to raise and to answer the question: How much of the old Japan is still alive in the new Japan? This book is built on a non-conformist belief: that the greatest source of error and misconception in contemporary Western writing about Japan, in the media or in academe, derives directly from a failure to grasp the nature of the Japanese political and business system before 1985. ’ PART I THE POLITICS Policymakers and the Japanese political system 3 Why the centre holds A NATIONALIST SOLUTION From the standpoint of the policymaker, particularly the nationalist addressing the state’s core concerns, the supreme fact of Japanese political life has been the existence of more than one centre of authority, legitimacy and policymaking initiative.

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