Japanese Investment in the World Economy
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Japanese Investment in the World Economy

A Study of Strategic Themes in the Internationalisation of Japanese Industry

Roger Farrell

This book examines Japanese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the world economy over more than five decades. It provides a unique focus on the internationalisation experience of selected industries, such as forestry, textiles, electronics, motor vehicles, steel and services as well as case studies of individual firms. Japanese Investment in the World Economy is distinctive in that it examines overseas investment by firms in the primary, manufacturing and services sectors over the period in which the Japanese economy became the second largest in the world.
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Chapter 23: Construction Services

Roger Farrell


INTRODUCTION Construction is a significant industry in Japan and accounted for almost one fifth of national output at its peak in 1990, when it employed more than six million people or around ten per cent of the work force. While the industry is oriented towards the domestic market, larger construction firms have operated around the world, particularly in North America and East Asia, although there was a withdrawal from the international construction services market in the 1990s. In the post-war period, Japanese construction firms became actively involved in foreign construction projects around the world, ranging from infrastructure such as bridges, roads and hospitals for Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects and the construction of industrial estates and office and hotel facilities for other Japanese firms across the world. Beginning in the 1950s, firms in the construction industry were awarded overseas contracts with ODA funding, to build infrastructure in Korea and Taiwan. Overseas construction of infrastructure in East Asia often complemented foreign investment inflows from Japanese manufacturing firms in the textiles and other light industries. Yen loans under the ODA scheme were used to build ports, roads, rail and industrial estates – almost always with Japanese contractors or joint ventures with a Japanese partner. Larger Japanese firms such as Kajima, Obayashi and Nishimatsu were involved in the construction of ports, roads and industrial estates, including the Kaoshiung Export Processing Zone in Taiwan and the Masan Free Export Processing Zone in South Korea, both of which attracted investment from light...

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