Industrial Policy:

Case Studies in the Japanese Experience

ID-83-11: Published: Oct 20, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided case studies of five key Japanese industries, including three high-technology growth industries and two faced with unfavorable world market prospects, specifically computers, robotics, aircraft, shipbuilding, and textiles. This report serves as a companion volume to an earlier report entitled "Industrial Policy: Japan's Flexible Approach" and details the assistance each industry receives from the Japanese Government.

This report noted that Japan's ability to adapt its industrial policies to changing domestic and international circumstances has been a key factor in maintaining its industrial effectiveness. In the postwar period, Japanese economic growth policies included: (1) promoting investment by keeping interest rates low; (2) holding Government spending to a consistent share of national income; (3) channeling resources to industries targeted for growth; (4) aiding the shift of resources from industries with poor market prospects; and (5) providing benefits for workers in depressed industries and regions. GAO identified two elements that have contributed to Japan's industrial success: (1) a communication system which encourages cooperation between segments of the economy; and (2) the Government's policy of supplementing, rather than supplanting, private-sector activities.

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