Japan, home of some of the largest multinational technology corporations in the world, has been influenced in myriad ways through globalization. The effects of globalization on Japan provide valuable insights into the transformation of Japanese society. Global processes have increased wages and homelessness, strengthened environmental management programs, shifted governance towards regionalism, and threatened linguistic diversity in Japan.
Numerous studies on Japan’s economy provide both the positive and negative effects of globalization. Nakamura (2013) used Japanese wage censuses from 1998, 2000, and 2002 to explore the effects of inward and outward foreign direct investment (FDI) on the wages of Japanese workers in manufacturing industries (p. 401). Nakamura (2013) concluded that foreign ownership, especially of fifty-percent or more, increases workers’ wages (p. 402). While these wage increases are positive, such increases imply a growing divide between the incomes of workers for globalizing firms and workers for non-globalizing firms and between the wages of large firms and small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), since most large firms participate in FDI whereas SMEs do not (Nakamura, 2013, p. 396). Such conclusions are not surprising; in an increasingly connected world, successful businesses must be able to coordinate across national borders. Wage increases and income disparities are some notable effects of globalization on Japan’s economy.
The process of continuous economic transformation and development in Japan has not been solely positive. Hasegawa (2005) attributes the rise of homelessness in Japan to three structural changes: “(a) a shift from a manufacturing to a service economy, (b) urban redevelopment, and (c) government policy shifts toward deregulation and privatization” (p. 989). For most of the developed world, economies have shifted away from manufacturing to service industries. Such a shift has been accompanied with a casualization of labor and a rise in low-wage jobs, especially in the growing service sector (Hasegawa, 2005, p. 996). Following such deindustrialization, gentrification resulted in rent increases for low-income housing and to a removal of such housing altogether (Hasegawa, 2005, p. 999). The rise of homelessness in Japan because of both economic transformation and subsequent urban redevelopment is one of many examples of the negative effects of globalization.
Environmental management has been a topic of concern for multinational corporations in Japan. Consumers, regulators, investors, and organizations are pressuring corporations to be environmentally conscious and responsible. Cole, Elliot, and Shimamoto (2006) measured fourteen indicators of a company’s environmental management and investigated how companies’ characteristics along with external factors influenced the effectiveness of environmental management systems (p. 312). Firms that undertake foreign direct investment are more likely to have stringent...