Japanese Foreign Direct Investment in the World Economy 1951-1997
Since the 1980s Japan has emerged as one of the world’s leading sources of foreign direct investment (FDI) reflecting the continuing internationalisation of Japanese corporations. This paper provides a broad survey of trends in Japanese FDI in the postwar period by both country and industry and discusses the motivations for investment. Overseas investment reflects the growth and adjustment of the Japanese economy since the 1950s and is an indicator of how industries have responded to factors such as the appreciation of the yen and the choice between exporting and overseas production. The paper also considers the scope and limitations of the available statistics on Japanese FDI, especially the benchmark Ministry of Finance (MOF) series. The internationalisation of Japanese industry and its geographical allocation and intensity are examined using a consolidated database of MOF statistics of overseas investment. The paper highlights the opportunities that the database creates for future investigations of the determinants of Japanese FDI in the postwar period. Other data sources, such as the MITI, EXIM and Toyo Keizai surveys are drawn upon to provide a detailed overview of the international operations of Japanese corporations. Measures of the rate of internationalisation of Japanese industry and of the intensity of investment by industry and country are estimated.
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