It's fascinating to watch Japan transition away from a low-cost manufacturing economy in the face of downward price pressure from Korea, China, and other countries. I was particularly interested in this passage from the article:
The reversals have gripped Japan with a sense of national angst over its future, though economists are divided over how much the nation will actually deindustrialize — and whether a shift away from factories is really such a bad thing. Most economists agree that Japan, which rose to economic superpower status in the 1980s by building compact sedans and color televisions, has outgrown the “Asian Miracle” template and needs a new economic strategy. What that approach should be, though, is the subject of intense and growing debate.
“It is time for Japan to find a new model for its economy,” said Masatomo Onishi, a professor of business at Kansai University. “We can follow the United States into a more postindustrial economy, or we can follow Germany into high-end manufacturing, but we shouldn’t be trying to compete with China in mass production.”
These are questions that go to the core of the identity of a nation that has long prided itself on its tradition of craftsmanship known as “monozukuri,” or “making things.” The debate is being watched closely by other Asian nations, which have pursued the same strategy of industrial catch-up that Japan pioneered.
The next 10 years are going to see big changes in the global economy.