A Study of Strategic Themes in the Internationalisation of Japanese Industry
New Horizons in International Business series
Chapter 25: Concluding Comments
OVERVIEW The pattern of Japanese foreign direct investment has changed considerably over the ﬁve decades covered by this study, on both a geographical and an industrial basis. As Japan recovered from the Second World War, investment ﬂows abroad were comparatively small and sought primarily to facilitate the expansion of exports by creating an international network of sales aﬃliates and to secure supplies of resources and energy for domestic industries. In the following years this pattern continued to change, as manufacturing ﬁrms relocated production processes to lower cost economies, especially in East Asia, while defensive trade measures in developed country markets led ﬁrms to establish or acquire production facilities in North America and Europe. Complementary investment by Japanese suppliers in the glass, chemicals, plastics, metal and parts and components industries occurred to maintain the supply chain to the automotive and electronics sectors. Steel investments were often primarily focused on overcoming trade barriers to the direct supply of automotive steel to car makers. From the late 1980s, the rapid expansion of Japanese services investment in developed economies suggested a convergence to the model of Western foreign direct investment – but many of the new aﬃliates, mergers and acquisitions by the ﬁnancial, insurance, real estate and related industries were comparatively unsuccessful. Major losses occurred for ﬁnancial and real estate FDI, which were related to the end of the bubble economy in Japan. The massive losses experienced by NTT from its untimely investments in leading telecommunications service providers such as AT&T (just...
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