Emergent Japan

March 4, 1970

Report Outline
Surge of Economy and National Esteem
Prosperity and Problems of Japanese
Japan's Future Leadership Role in Asia
Special Focus

Surge of Economy and National Esteem

Expo 70 as Symbol of Japanese New Self-Pride

One hundred years ago Japan was still emerging from feudalism. Twenty-five years ago it was a nation in ruins after defeat in war. Today Japan on the eve of the opening of Expo 70 is an economic superpower, outranked only by the United States and Russia. What lies ahead is of great concern, and hope, on both sides of the Pacific. Premier Eisaku Sato told the Diet (parliament) on Feb. 14 the 1970s would be “an era in which Japan's national power will carry unprecedented weight in world affairs.”

Pushed back onto their barren islands after the allied victory in 1945, demoralized and in international disgrace, the Japanese people have made an astounding recovery. But their prosperity has spawned a host of social problems, incurred the envy and sometimes the anxiety of other Asian nations and led to a renascent nationalism in Japan. Japan's decision to hold the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo was an early sign of the nation's awakening self-confidence. President Nixon's pledge last November to return Okinawa to Japanese rule by 1972 was, for Japan, an important step into world prominence. Foreign Minister Kiichi Aichi said the reversion of Okinawa “will lift the last excuse in our public mind for clinging to our inward-lookingness…our strength will have been made whole again, and we will be ready for our responsibilities.” More recently, Japan's successful launching of an unmanned satellite on Feb. 11 boosted national morale.

The most obvious indication that Japan has “arrived,” however, is Expo 70, the first world's fair ever held in Asia. Expo 70 opens March 15 for a six-month run on an 815-aere site outside Osaka, Japan's second largest city. Some 80 countries are taking part in the $2 billion fair, which is expected to attract 67 million visitors from Japan and abroad, including 500,000 from America. Expo 70 is especially significant for the Japanese because they failed in three previous attempts to hold a world's fair. Construction was well under way for a fair in Tokyo in 1940 when the outbreak of World War II in Europe cancelled the event. “Progress and Harmony for Mankind” and “The Beginning of a New Century of Progress for the Far East” are the twin themes of Expo 70. The slogans reflect the duality of Japanese thinking at present, as their country casts about for a proper leadership role to match its economic strength. Despite some nagging-doubts, there is a pervasive optimism, arising from economic strength.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jul. 26, 2002  Japan in Crisis
May 31, 1991  The U.S. And Japan
Apr. 09, 1982  Tensions in U.S.-Japanese Relations
Jul. 01, 1977  Japanese Elections
Mar. 04, 1970  Emergent Japan
Jun. 25, 1969  Okinawa Question
Jan. 05, 1966  Rising Japanese Nationalism
Jun. 02, 1960  Japan: Disturbed Ally
Nov. 18, 1959  Japanese Competition in International Trade
May 11, 1955  Relations With Japan
Nov. 03, 1954  Japan's Economy
Jan. 09, 1952  Trade with Japan
Feb. 28, 1951  Japan and Pacific Security
Sep. 19, 1947  Peace with Japan
Aug. 14, 1945  Emperor of Japan
Nov. 03, 1944  Russo-Japanese Relations
Dec. 09, 1939  The United States and Japan's New Order in Asia
Dec. 05, 1938  Japan and the Open Door Policy
Apr. 29, 1935  Japanese Foreign Trade Expansion
May 11, 1934  Japanese Policy in Asia
Oct. 12, 1932  Japanese-American Relations
Mar. 17, 1932  Boycotts and Embargoes
Feb. 10, 1932  Militarism Vs. Liberalism in Japan
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific