How the Japanese Manage Risk
Issue 2, 1990

Americans hear so much about Japan as the success story of the international economy, they sometimes forget that the Japanese have economic problems of their own. Japan has its declining industries such as steel and its low-wage competitors such as South Korea and Taiwan. And in an era of fast-paced economic change - exemplified by the recent loss of advantage in international markets caused by the high yen - it also has its problems of social adjustment. But what is so remarkable about the Japanese economy is its capacity to address such difficulties and adapt to change while remaining productive. On a recent trip to Japan, I came to the conclusion that if there is any one secret to this success, it lies in the way Japanese manufacturers manage risk.