The vast majority of Americans think Japan is fading into the sunset. Its population is declining, its economy is not growing much or at all and it has been eclipsed by China. I’ve argued for decades that that line of analysis is overstated. Japan is one of the world’s most advanced societies and maintains a very high standard of living.
I have been traveling to Japan since 1979 when I covered the Group of 7 meeting of world leaders, the first time it was held in Tokyo. Then in 1989, I spent months in Japan writing my book, The Japanese Power Game. During this sweep of 35 years or so, and over the course of dozens of visits, I have seen the Japanese transform their cities and build an incredibly extensive, modern transportation system. Their technology base is strong.
I have visited Yokohama twice in recent months to conduct research for my seventh book, which I am co-authoring with the father of the ThinkPad computer, Arimasa Naitoh. Stay tuned for more details.
Check out these short videos that I shot recently in downtown Yokohama:
Here in Yokohama, the Japanese have reclaimed many acres of land from the ocean and created a new downtown area that is simply world class.
The Japanese never used to have skyscrapers because of the risk of earthquakes, but they have perfected technology that allows the buildings to essentially float on a flexible base. The buildings in this area obviously survived the March 2011 earthquake.
This is looking north across Tokyo Bay toward Tokyo itself. Many people commute from Yokohama to Tokyo because the train service is so excellent.