Research Programs: International Trade and Investment

Study of the Creation of the Japanese Economy and Trade and Direct Investment

Project Leader/Sub-Leader


WAKASUGI Ryuhei (Program Director, Faculty Fellow)


TODO Yasuyuki

TODO Yasuyuki (Faculty Fellow)



While it had been hoped that Japan's economy would shift from the low growth of the "two lost decades" and shift to a new rapid growth stage, leading to the birth of a new Japan, the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck amid such hopes caused a massive shock to Japan's society and its economy. It is thought that in order to overcome the immediate crisis and break free from the past low growth trend, both Japanese society and the Japanese economy need to undergo massive transitions in a wide range of areas. In the second five-year midterm period, both theoretical and empirical analysis were conducted and policy proposals were made based on a foundation of corporate heterogeneity and globalization, seeing such corporate globalization (i.e., exports and overseas production) as keys to Japan's economic growth. Based on the results of such study, this project will (1) add the perspective of analysis of changes in firms and industries due to the earthquake to research on the globalization of Japanese firms and industries; (2) focus analysis on subjects such as the globalization of firms (i.e., trade and overseas investment); production networks and industrial clusters in global markets; responses to the impacts of supply shocks of electric power and materials and related changes; corporate R&D, innovation, and international technology transfer and corporate exports and growth; forms of corporate R&D and systems to protect intellectual property rights; corporate exports and employment structures; and industrial heterogeneity, the properties of local communities, and determination of comparative advantage; (3) conduct unique empirical study based on microeconomic data at the industry, corporate, and plant levels, with the addition of field study and other activities; and (4) make clear the short-, medium-, and long-term issues and problems affecting growth of the Japanese economy from a global perspective and make policy recommendations. We will also advance joint research with the Development Research Center of China on the globalization of Chinese firms and growth in the Chinese economy, which are closely related to the globalization of Japanese firms.

The subjects of research in this project are made up of the following topics:
(1) Analysis of changes in the Japanese economy and the economies of the Tohoku and northern Kanto regions from before to after the earthquake, from the perspective of international production networks
(2) Analysis of impacts of supply shocks and changes in the factor prices, including restrictions on electric power supply, and changes in the structure of Japan's comparative advantage
(3) Analysis of the employment effects of exports by Japanese firms, protection of intellectual property rights, corporate R&D, and trade, and corporate globalization and international technology transfer
(4) Analysis of industrial heterogeneity and comparative advantage, exports and outsourcing, and the properties and comparative advantages of local communities
(5) Analysis of corporate clustering and globalization (i.e., exports and FDI) in the China market and Chinese economic growth

May 10, 2011 - March 31, 2013

Major Research Results


RIETI Discussion Papers

RIETI Policy Discussion Papers


RIETI Discussion Papers


RIETI Discussion Papers