Perhaps, one should bear in mind cultural differences and the speed at which beliefs and values change.
For instance, the reason why Japan waited so long before starting investing in other countries' economies is not xenophobia but the concept of "amae." In short, amae presupposes superior-inferior or even parent-child relationship, that is the way Japan viewed their relation to the US. So, why would they bother about playing more actively on the international arena?
However, as the Japanese economy was getting better, and especially, when the exports from Japan to US outweighed US imports to Japan, the relattionship was broken by US statement that Japan should revise its international political economy.
Japan acts somewhat different now, since it realized that it is not a minor player anymore (finally they got it :) Currently, Japan is one of the major aid-givers, and it provides most of the help for Eastern Asia.
Regarding non-tariff barriers for import...huh, Japan is not the only country that does it. How about bananas and EC? And what about India with its against-patent regulations, and even US (regulations regarding textile and apparel products aimed against EC)?
Beliefs change gradually and practices change even slower. The idea of liberalization and open trade is relatively new.
>>On Fri, Feb 19, 1999 at 12:09:22PM +1100, Tim Bates wrote:
>>> It is interesting thing to think about this in the Japanese
>>> Their government cannot convince them to spend their savings for
>>> money. It is currently earning less than .25% (yes, less than one
>>> of a percent), and that just makes them want to save harder! Why?
>>> they are saving for their old age.
>>> But upon what will they spend this money when they are old? The
>>> they need to save is that there are no young people to do the work.
>>> the, mostly retired, future, there will be few goods to buy nor
>>> to purchase.
>>> The saved money will then suffer tremendous inflation (more money
>>> goods = higher prices for goods). No use trying to buy American or
>>> Australian goods (2 countries for whom the age bulge will hit around
>>> years later than in Japan), as no one will want to swap dollars for
>>> Yen when there is nothing in Japan to purchase.
>>> Tough times ahead for Japan, I think.
>>I'm not sure this is the right forum to discuss this issue, but since
>>brought it up..
>>I do not understand why Japanese savers do not invest more of their
>>outside of Japan (in the US or Europe for example). First of all it
>>earn a lot more interest. It would help the countries they invest in.
>>would also stimulate demand for Japanese exports, thus helping their
>>economy. And finally it would solve the problem of their savings not
>>worth anything when they retire.
>>It just seems like a win-win solution, yet it is not adopted nor even
>I dunno...could it be for the same reason that they enforce highly
discriminatory import policies? (The word is xenophobia).
>Joe E. Dees
>Poet, Pagan, Philosopher