Date: Japan, March 24-31, 2018
Program Fee: $3,651 with 20 participants
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND RATIONALE
This is a one-credit course that includes an international study trip to Japan in March 2018. The trip includes visits to numerous companies and other organizations in and around Tokyo. In this course we study fundamentals of international business, (ii) the environments and challenges of Asian countries, especially Japan, (iii) strategies and operations for succeeding in such countries, and (iv) specific aspects of business in Japan.
Japan is home to 127 million people, in an area the size of California. Japan has an older population, with nearly 40% of the country over age 55. Life expectancy is long, about 85 years on average. Following World War II, Japan emerged as an important world power in economic and geopolitical terms. It is the world’s third largest economy, with a GDP of about $5 trillion. Per-capita income of nearly $40,000 implies enormous buying power. However, the country’s economy has been relatively stagnant for more than two decades, with high government debt.
Despite the recent growth of China and India, Japan remains a major force in the world economy. Japan has huge industrial capacity, and is home to some of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronics, machine tools, ships, chemicals, and processed foods. The country's retail market is huge. Japan is also an important destination for R&D and manufacturing in numerous industries. The services sector now accounts for more than 70% of Japan’s GDP.
Japan’s civilization dates back some 12,000 years. The country is widely known for its traditional arts as well as its contemporary pop culture. It is still possible to see kimono-clad women shuffling down the street with umbrellas overhead, alongside countless ‘salarymen’, white-collar workers in their Western suits. A sophisticated cuisine, unique social customs, and refined visual arts contribute to a culture attractive, and sometimes fashionable, to people around the world.
Japan’s government is a parliamentary system, with upper and lower houses, a prime minister, and a supreme court. The government is typically dominated by the centrist Liberal Democratic Party. Japan’s long-serving Prime Minister is Shinzo Abe, who comes from a long line of prominent politicians.
Japan’s capital is Tokyo, the world's most populous metropolitan area with more than 30 million people. The Tokyo region is home to most of Japan's largest companies, many of which compete directly with US firms. Tokyo is also the nation’s center of government. Tokyo is served by an excellent subway and suburban train system.