Japan continues to have more to offer, and China less, than the mythmakers in everyday journalism would suggest. Of course, China and Japan both know this, in their own ways, and have worked out a more-than-satisfactory resolution to the problem: Japan brings everything but the Crown Jewels into China for lower labor costs, and does the R and D and (sometimes) final polish at home. China counts on the investment (Japan has been the largest FDI source for China for three years now), ignores the politics, and recognizes the shared mercantile model that Japan can share with this young/old economic upstart.
Despite China’s work at cementing bridges around the world, from Russia to Latin America and Africa, it is hard not to believe that Japan and China together already do not represent the future of most manufactured goods in the 21st century.
At a time when all credit goes to China, I think half the credit perhaps should go to Japan, and that half the reward, too, will accrue to them as time goes by, much to the surprise of most observers.