Japan as the “Indispensable Nation” in Asia: A Financial Brand for the 21st Century
This article addresses Japan's global financial “brand.” It first examines the concept of a national “brand” and the difficulties associated with creating a desirable image of a country among outsiders. It adopts an instrumental concept of branding, which focuses on the behavior that the national image should elicit from foreign countries. It also notes that effective branding must accurately reflect reality. For Japan, the goal should be to promote economic cooperation where mutual interests exist. Efforts should be focused on East Asia, where mutual economic interests are least fully realized, and where Japan's national image appears to be an important stumbling block. Japan should seek to demonstrate the potential for transition to a “post-developmental” financial model and to be the “indispensable partner” for regional cooperative and development initiatives. This will require continued progress in cleaning up and improving the competitiveness of Japan's financial institutions and financial system.