In 20 short years, Japan has emerged from the smoking ruins of World War II to become the SUPERGIANT of the Orient. She ranks THIRD in the world — behind America and Russia — in Industrial Output — and still growing! Here are the surprising FACTS behind this phenomenal growth, and what it portends for the future.
JAPAN'S sun has once again risen — and it is bigger and brighter than ever before! From the rubble and ruin of World War II, a NEW JAPAN has emerged. A mighty economic SUPERGIANT. Japan's phenomenal post-war recovery has catapulted this once crushed and demoralized nation into the position of a MAJOR WORLD POWER and Asia's mightiest industrial nation. Japan has written the most amazing and spectacular of all modern success stories. This story of Japan's economic rebirth is nothing short of phenomenal.
Most people are unaware of the role Japan is destined to play in future world affairs. The average man on the street is almost totally uninformed — or woefully misinformed — concerning the New Japan. The chances are that you fit into this category. Even the government officials seem reluctant to face the reality of Japan's powerful economic position. Japan is no longer the vassal of her former conqueror. She is no longer willing to be told what to do. The time is almost here when Japan will be "calling the shots" in Southeast Asia. "Oddly enough," admits former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Edwin O. Reischauer, "we are not in the habit of thinking of Japan as either big or great... Japan, however, is one of the biggest countries of the modern world as figured in any way but land area." Professor Robert A. Scalapino, of the University of California, has warned: "Whatever the future may hold, Japan — not China — is today the major power of Asia, and one of the handful of major powers that will determine the future of the world." Who would have believed such a statement twenty — or even ten — years ago? Now look at what has made the new Japan great. Since World War II, Japan's population has skyrocketed by 50 percent. This makes the tiny island nation the world's fifth most populous nation. Only China, India, Russia, and the United States are larger than Japan's 101,000,000 population. By 1951 — six short years after the war's total destruction — Japanese industrial output was back to prewar levels. And by 1967, Japan reached a tie for third place (with West Germany) in industrial output, and fourth (behind U.S., USSR and West Germany) in Gross National Product. The amazing part of this economic miracle is Japan's growth rate. While the huge world powers are satisfied with a two or three percent yearly increase, Japan has averaged a level ten percent yearly increase for over a decade! Today Japan is number one in production of ships, motorcycles, organs, transistor radios, quality cameras, and sewing machines. She is a close second or third in such all-important industries as steel, chemicals, automobiles, paper, and electronics.
"The Ships of Tarshish"
Japan lost 2,568 ships during World War II. Her merchant fleet was all but annihilated. Her bustling harbors and massive shipbuilding works were bombed beyond recognition. But from these ruins, Japan — in Bible prophecy the "Tarshish" of the Orient — has assembled the world's fifth largest merchant fleet (with well over 10,000,000 gross tons), and the largest shipbuilding works ever known to man! For twelve consecutive years, Japan has led the world in tons launched, now amounting to 47 percent of world production. In 1968 Japan may be able to produce over 50 percent of all shipping, or more than all the rest of the world combined! Britain and West Germany combined produce less than half the Japanese tonnage. Japan's future domination and growth in shipbuilding is insured by these two factors: 1) Contracts for ship bottoms, which have not yet started, account for fifty percent of the world's total; 2) Only Japanese shipyards have the present capacity to construct tankers between 200,000 and 300,000 DWT (deadweight tons). This gives Japan a virtual monopoly in the "supership" business.
Japan has revolutionized ship designing! Brilliant Japanese engineers and vast computer systems have automated the shipping industry, and — to no small extent — shipbuilding. It's amazing to watch a Japanese "supership" being assembled. The Japanese put together a ship much like a jigsaw puzzle, with some of the pieces weighing 250 tons! Whole sections, such as the deckhouse or engine room, are pre-built and lifted into place by huge cranes. Since Japan has so many orders for these supertankers, much of the construction can be computerized. Once launched, these ships "run themselves," with a crew of only thirty to "man the computers." The two largest ships in the world — both Japanese built — have a total crew of 29 and 32, respectively! The first Japanese "supertanker" appeared in 1962 to help Japan import more raw materials. That first 132,000 DWT tanker was such a success, and brought in such huge profits, Japan decided to build more tankers — many more. In December, 1966, the latest behemoth was launched, the Idemitsu Maru, a 210,000 DWT tanker, measuring 1,122 feet in length (longer than the Eiffel Tower is high), and generating 100,000 horsepower. Just how much is 210,000 tons of oil? It staggers the imagination! The Idemitsu Maru could hold enough gasoline to drive 750 cars to the moon and back, AND enough kerosene to cook a big breakfast for every person on the face of the earth (and have enough left over to cook dinner for everybody, too), AND enough diesel fuel to drive 900 heavy trucks around the world at the equator, and still have enough fuel left in its hull to generate electricity to light all the light bulbs in Japan for two weeks! On the return trip, the Idemitsu Maru could hold 1.3 billion bottles of soft drink, enough to supply every American man, woman and child with a six-pack! But Japan is not satisfied! Japanese designers are already tackling the problem of the most efficient hull form for a 500,000 DWT vessel, hopefully to be built before 1980! No nation can stop Japan's technological monopoly on these "superships." These modern-day "Ships of Tar-shish" are a direct fulfillment of Bible prophecy. (See the December, 1966 PLAIN TRUTH, pp. 22-23, for proof of the identity of the "Tarshish" of the Orient)
Automobiles — Now Number TWO
There was a time when the Japanese motor car was considered a joke. Their cars of pre-World-War-II vintage and their first postwar cars certainly left much to be desired. But nobody's laughing now! Especially not the West Germans, since Japan just passed West Germany in the spring of 1967 to become the world's second largest producer of automobiles. In the first four months alone of 1967, production totalled 934,657 units. These cars (mainly Toyotas and Datsuns) trucks, and buses are now considered among the best quality products in the world! Far from being a sign of inferior workmanship, "Made in Japan" cars are well-designed, offer economic operation, and are exceedingly well-constructed. Performance records prove it. For this reason, Americans, Australians, and Britons are buying Japanese cars at record-breaking rates. In 1966, foreign sales rose 32 percent over the previous year, with a record total of 255,734 units. Although Australia slapped a 45 percent tariff on Japanese cars to "even the market," Japanese sales still continue to grow. In London, businessmen are frustrated that Japan's "revolutionary new mini-car" can sell for £40 less — tariffs and all — than Britain's lowest price mini-car. Even in tiny Rhodesia, Japanese cars are more numerous than any other. The United States is the largest single market outside of Japan. Nationwide, the twin Japanese entries of Datsun and Toyota were up 77 percent and 100 percent respectively for imports during the first half of 1967. Even the U.S. "rent-a-car" business is not immune from Japanese businessmen. Japanese businessmen offer a much more reasonable rental price to rent-a-car firms. Three Japanese assembly plants are scheduled in Australia, and a Hino car-assembly plant is soon to open in Holland. A London Times motoring correspondent cast a gloomy prediction of these Japanese activities so far as "just the tip of a massive iceberg." This is just the beginning of Japanese infiltration of Western markets! Just as one American motor company advertises, "We're number two — we try harder," Japan is shooting for dai ichi — Number ONE!
Have you ever heard of Yawata Iron and Steel Works? Last summer Yawata surpassed Republic Steel to become the third largest steel-making firm in the world! Yawata is surpassed only by the American monoliths U.S. Steel and Bethlehem Steel in yearly output. Fuji Iron and Steel has moved up to sixth place in the world, the spot occupied by Yawata just one short year ago. While Britain's steel production declined 2½ million tons in 1966, and the German steel industry is having a record slump, enterprising Japanese steelmen have nudged Japan into third place in total world steel production. Japan surpassed Germany just last fiscal year, and now trails only the United States and Russia. While the huge steel firms of the world are cutting back, striking, or stagnating, the spotlight is on growth in Japan. New and revolutionary techniques are making Japanese steel mills the world's best. New blast furnaces and converters are sprouting almost like weeds. A study in 1964 predicted 48,000,000 tons of steel per year by 1970, but Japan surprisingly passed that goal by 1967 — with a 53,000,000-ton year. Now, Japanese blueprints call for expanding steelmaking by nearly 50 percent by 1970 — or up to 78 million tons! At this projected rate of growth, Japan would pass the Soviet Union by 1975 to be number TWO in the world steel production. Why such rapid growth? Who is buying all the steel? The answer to these questions poses the BIG, key problem to Americans and Europeans. Japan is the world's leading EXPORTER of steel. In 1955, Japan exported a scant two million tons to foreign markets. But since that time she has grabbed foreign steel markets one by one, increased steel exports 550 percent to over thirteen million tons, or a full 25 percent of all Japanese steel produced. Export percentages are expected to reach thirty percent by 1970. In Japan, steel mills are geared toward EXPORTS. Japan's newest and potentially largest steel plant was recently erected on 2,000 acres of land reclaimed from the sea, 450 miles southwest of Tokyo. The site was so constructed to enable vessels of 100,000 tons and more to dock at the plant safe from typhoons and tidal waves. With such a convenient harbor, Kawasaki steel mills can import iron ore directly from Brazil, coal from West Virginia, and scrap iron from the U.S. West Coast, and ship the finished steel out directly in the same vessel! And steel is not all that the Kawasaki mills export! They export know-how and superior methods to curious steel executives in Europe and America. Last year, Kawasaki turned out over five million tons of steel with three 150-ton converters, while Bethlehem Steel turned out only 3.8 million tons from three similar converters of nearly twice the tonnage. And there just is not room to discuss Japan's great impact on the fields of electronics, chemicals, and plastics.
You Name It — Japan Makes It
The list could go on for page after page. But here are just a few: Quality Cameras — Japan leads the world in this field! And Japanese merchants are increasingly cornering the market in binoculars, telescopes and other precision optical equipment. Motorcycles — First in worldwide production, with over a million units annually. Organs and pianos — First in production of organs with 470,000 in 1966 and second to the United States in piano production. Japan produced 170,726 pianos in 1966 or double the total production of the rest of the world excluding United States! Japanese pianos are noted worldwide for their superb carpentry (using some choice Alaskan wood) and excellent tone quality. Sewing Machines — unquestionably first in world production, surpassing the number two producer by sevenfold! In 1966 Japan produced 3,820,000 sewing machines (42 percent of the world total), while second place Italy made only 580,000. West Germany followed with 560,000, Britain with 500,000 and the United States with 400,000 a bare tenth of Japanese production. Of course, Japan exported most of this total 2,630,000, or 69 percent. Transistor Radios — First again! Commercial Fertilizer — First in world production and exporting! Japan's fertilizer exports have grown 13.4 percent per year each year since 1958, so that Japan now holds 16 percent of the world's fertilizer markets. Japan owns and operates the largest urea fertilizer plant in the world, turning out 590 tons of ammonia fertilizer and 1,000 tons of urea fertilizer per day! This plant is in Ulsan, Korea, but is operated by Toyo Engineering Company, of Japan. Toys — Japan is the Number One exporter of toys, sending $150,000,000 worth of toys to over 100 nations. This total is 2.5 times that of West Germany, the traditional "favorite" country for foreign-made toys. Textiles — "Japan today is the world's hottest producer of men's worsted textiles" (Wall Street Journal June 13, 1966). England, France, and Italy have all taken a far-distant back seat. Japan currently holds about 70 percent of the lucrative U.S. market for men's imported worsted textiles! One New York buyer said, "There may be some finer top British woolens but, on the average, no one in the world makes a better fabric than the Japanese." Watches — Time is running out for the Swiss! Japan now turns out 14.4 million units annually, second in world production. The Japanese have mass production techniques which ignore the craftsmen, yet insure quality in the medium and lower price ranges. This is causing Swiss officials to reexamine their methods before Japan runs away with the number ONE slot! Paper products — third largest producer of paper products, and fifth of pulp products. This is coupled with an annual growth of 10 percent, indicating Japan is not content to be just third or fifth for long! Special ocean-going carriers for pulp wood bring to Japanese factories raw materials from the Soviet Union, United States, and the South Pacific. Japan exports the finished products back out, at the rate of $95,000,000 per year. This is a growth of 21 percent per year. The exports of such items as board paper and cellophane increased astronomically in 1967 — 158 percent and 143 percent respectively. The vital facet of steel production that has American and British officials really worried is machine tools. Japanese exports shot up 70 percent in 1966, from $21,000,000 to $35,695,000 in one year!
Japan's Secret Weapon
What has been the secret of Japan's spectacular rise to the position of one of the world's great industrial supeigiants? What has been the key to this fabulous success story — this economic miracle? A veteran observer analyzed the situation in this way, "If Japan has any secret weapon, it is not cheap labor, but alert, aggressive management and responsive workers." But what produces dynamic leadership and dedicated workers? The Japanese people are fired by a goal in life — a sense of national purpose. Japan is striving to become Dai Ichi — No. 1. Japan intends to become the greatest industrial power in the world. And despite a national life which is a continual struggle against a somewhat niggardly natural environment Japan appears well on her way to achieving this goal. Based on Japan's fantastic economic growth rate of 8 percent a year — the fastest in the world — a leading American economist has predicted that Japan will rise to the top position of per capita national income in the 21st century. The 21st century, he said, will be Japan's! The Japanese people are destined to enjoy the greatest time of national prosperity and affluence in all their history. But it will not be achieved in the way this economist or the Japanese people themselves expect. Before the dawn of the 21st century all nations will be experiencing an unparalleled time of peace and prosperity. By then, however, a totally new and different world — the wonderful World Tomorrow — will have replaced this world's present political, social, economic and religious structure. The entire world will be reaping the abundant blessings of living under the rulership of the Kingdom of God. If you haven't already read Mr. Armstrong's amazing booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow - What It Will Be Like, read it immediately. Learn how Almighty God is going to bring man every good thing for which he is now frantically striving. Despite Japan's success story, there are BIG problems facing the nation. Next month will highlight these unfaced problems and reveal their prophesied solution.