Impacts and Effects of Globalization in Relation to Japan


Globalization is an economic term that denotes a complicated process, which covers all aspects of social development and involves interdependence of world countries. This report consists of an introduction, body and summary. The body is divided into two sections: Country Overview, which contains basic information about Japan, and Impacts and Effects of Globalization in Japan, which demonstrates the main aspects of globalization in the observed country. The main objective of the report is to study the impacts and effects of globalization on Japan.

Country Overview

Japan is an island country located in Northeast Asia between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. Its area is 377,944 square kilometers. Japan consists of 6,852 islands, the main and the largest of which are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Japan has a forested, mountainous and volcanic territory. It has the biggest amount of forests in the world. Since Japan is located at the junction of three tectonic plates of the Pacific Ocean, there are frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the country.


Japan is one of the most populated countries. According to the data of 2015, its population is over 126 million. Most of the people live in the capital of the country, Tokyo. Over the past few years, the demographers have observed a decline in birth and mortality rates. Consequently, the amount of population is relatively stable. Japan is a monoethnic country. About 90% of the population is ethnic Japanese. Apart from them, Japan is inhabited by indigenous minorities, namely Ainu and Ryukyuan or Lewchewan people.

The Empire of Japan emerged in 660 BC when the first Japanese emperor Jimmu came to power. During the first millennium, Japan developed under the influence of Korea and China, which had a higher level of civilization. In the 7th century, Buddhism spread here. At the same time, the country was constantly involved in military conflicts, which lasted till 1867. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Taisho Era began. Japan entered World War I on the side of the Entente. In 1920, Japan joined the League of Nations but left it 13 years later. In 1937, Japan began the second Japanese-Chinese war.

The culture and worldview of the Japanese population are strongly influenced by the location of the country, its climatic and terrain features, and also constant natural disasters, which is reflected in a special reverence of the Japanese for the natural environment as for a living creature. The ability to admire the charm of the instantaneous nature is characteristic of the Japanese mentality and is reflected in the Japanese art.

Impacts and Effects of Globalization on Japan

Japan is considered to be one of the most globalized countries in the world. It is the biggest world exporter of automobiles, microelectronic products, gadgets and other tech products. Japan ranks second in the world in power generation, chemical fibers industry, copper and aluminum smelting and oil refining. The Japanese economy is highly dependent on foreign trade. Despite the fact that Japan is an integral part of the global economy, there is an opinion that Japan is experiencing an economic downturn due to its failure to cope with the “globalization of the economy.”

Additionally, the term ‘globalization’ refers not only to economy but has a broader meaning since nowadays it influences the politics, culture, health, environment, etc.. The process of globalization may be understood as a kind of modernization as well. Since Japan has close working relationship with Europe, the country’s traditional values underwent considerable changes.

First of all, globalization has a notable impact on the culture of Japan. Because of a rapid development of technology and the emergence of the Internet, a lot of people can observe Japan’s culture and traditions without leaving their home or try it somewhere in their city. For instance, there are many sushi restaurants and shops with traditional Japanese food, clothes or other items of Japanese culture in almost any country of the world. Therefore, now it is not necessary to travel large distances to taste sushi, sashimi (sliced raw fish) or visit a Japanese tea ceremony. Consequently, it results in great economic losses in Japanese tourism.

Secondly, Japanese people are also influenced by other cultures, mainly the American one. Whereas Japanese mass culture is becoming increasingly popular in the USA because of anime, manga, video games, etc., there is also a lot of interest among Japanese adolescents in the US popular culture. Usually this influence takes the form of a retro book, with Japanese people developing an interest in the American popular culture of earlier generations. For example, James Dean or Elvis are much admired in Japan. Nowadays, it is very popular in Japan to wear black leather jackets and slicked back hair, which were typical style of American teenagers in the 1950s. Therefore, it is reasonable to state that a lot of Japanese consider America not as the source of popular culture, but as a global mass culture in which everyone has the right to participate. Therefore, the culture popular in the US the 1950s became a global icon of Japanese youth in the 1990s.

Japanese teenagers desire to be always in trend. They want to dress like Americans, listen to their music, eat hamburgers and drink Cola, which is enhanced by the global presence of McDonald’s fast food restaurants. Although it is not bad to be interested in the culture of other societies, people can forget about their own national values.

Throughout most of its history, Japan has formed its culture on the basis of borrowing the religious doctrines of Buddhism, the Confucian ethical and religious system, Chinese arts and crafts. However, since the Meiji Restoration (1868), the country has become rapidly westernized. Japan reached the peak of Westernization during the years of the US military occupation (1945-1952), when the country joined the values of Western liberal democracy. For a long time, the Japanese were learning from the West, being guided by the motto “The eastern spirit, the Western technology.” Nevertheless, in the recent years, the Japanese have achieved considerable success not only in the technological and economic development but also in preserving their national spiritual culture. As a result, the spirit and the technology have become rightfully called Japanese.

One more thing factor has a negative impact on the Japanese society is the rapid development of technology. Of course, it is good to create new inventions, which can make people’s lives easier. On the other hand, the invention of robots makes people lazy. For instance, Japanese restaurants designed a robotic chair to queue, so that people do not have to wait long hours. People do not want to do their household chores when they know that the robot can do it for them. Children cannot enjoy their childhood and develop rightly while playing computer games. According to the latest studies, children that play computer games a lot use only a small part of their brains. As a result, the other part cannot develop well. 

Globalization brought some changes in the Japanese language system as well. Borrowings are interesting in this regard as they may indicate the dominance of one language over another. Many modern Japanese scientists are highly concerned about the social and cultural effects of globalization, suggesting that Japanese globalization is equated to Northern Americanization. This process of internationalization is due to the loss of important elements of the Japanese culture and national identity. Therefore, there exists an opinion about marginalization of the Japanese culture for the sake of globalization.

Excessive use of English borrowings in Japanese creates an impression that it is almost impossible to live in Japan without knowing the English language. The process of internationalization in the country is due to the loss of the Japanese culture and identity, especially among young people.

Another disadvantage of globalization is caused by interdependence of the countries they are closely connected with each other. As a result, when one of them falls down, the others are also close to collapse. Furthermore, Japan belongs to developed countries, which ought to help the developing ones. For example, Japan is an oil importing country. By selling oil to less developed countries, it leaves a smaller number of resources for itself. Although the economy rises, the environment suffers.

The current level of scientific and technological progress allows the developed countries to monitor the Earth on a large scale by using space satellites. There are complex applications and communication systems, through which experts can carry out monitoring and forecasting processes taking place in the world or in a particular local area of the Earth and fix parameters of physical changes. However, since the modern science of climate is founded on obsolete data about physical processes in micro and macrocosm, it unable to predict extreme natural events beforehand. 

For instance, March 11, 2011, there was the strongest for the entire period of seismic observations in this country, “Great Eastern Earthquake” in Japan. The epicenter of seismic activity was located 130 km from Sendai, and the authorities had not enough time to warn and protect people from an approaching tsunami. In other words, the exact time and place of the tragedy became known to the Japanese experts and authorities only 11 minutes before it started.

Globalization also has an impact on healthcare. Whereas the globalization of healthcare opens up huge opportunities for good, for example, quick response to an accident, it can also lead to the appearance of a new concern such as a more rapid spread of the disease. There are both advantages and disadvantages of the influence of globalization on health.

At first glance, there is an opinion that globalization makes a positive effect on health. In numerous aspects, this statement is true. For example, the global revolution in transport and communications allow responding quickly to epidemics and catastrophes in order to save thousands of people’s lives. On the other side, rapid movement of people across the borders encouraged the spread of infectious diseases, which is a threat to everyone, especially the poor. It is also predicted that in 2033 the Japanese elderly will make up about 30% of the population that will cause problems in the area health.


It can be concluded that such phenomenon as globalization have both positive and negative impacts on the world countries, namely Japan. Japan is a detached island nation which is under a strong external influence. Nevertheless, the country retains its independence and only once was subjected to foreign occupation. Foreign influence sometimes reached nearly zero and sometimes was very significant, but Japan always determined its scope and boundaries. According to a prominent Japanese sociolinguist Suzuki Takao, Japanese culture is selective: the Japanese take from other cultures (Chinese or American) only those items that they consider necessary for them. Then these elements become a part of the Japanese culture, sometimes after undergoing slight changes.

Unlike many other cultures, the Japanese one does not avoid external influences and borrowings. Constantly adding something new their culture, the Japanese do not lose their identity. Therefore, active development of certain elements of the Western world from Coca-Cola to formally democratic procedures does not necessarily mean deep westernization of Japan.

The centuries-old habits that developed in isolation from other countries and peoples help Japan to maintain its identity, even in the context of globalization, in which the country is currently actively involved. Such arrangements worked well in the period of the highest economic success of Japan (50-80s, XX century). However, in the last decade, unipolarity of the modern world and economic stagnation make it increasingly difficult for Japan to maintain its previous position. Therefore, it can be inferred that the changes that globalization causes depend on the attitude of a particular country to these changes.