Japan Going Global as a Small Country

June 19, 2017
by Noriyuki Morimoto

The word globalis used very often in Japan, as inglobalizationordevelopment of global talent. But what does it mean to be global? There should be some kind of philosophy beyond superficial aspects like enhancing English capabilities, or economic phenomena such as multinationalization of companies or expansion of free trade.


Being global is not the same as being international. Internationalliterally refers to the relationship among different nations.Global literally refers to the globe, a concept that transcends nations.


The establishment of modern society was marked by the rise of the nation state. Ever since that happened, there has been a fundamental difference between the domestic relations among people of the same country and international relations among people of different countries.


Meanwhile, to be global is simply about the relations among people. For a Japanese company, the idea of selling products to an American customer is international. Globally speaking, this is simply a company selling products to one of its customers. Globalization has to be this shift in the way of thinking.


The global concept represents historical progress, advancement in human wisdom, and creative development of intelligence. Human history has long been a history of rule of violence. The rise of the nation state at least manifests the rule of reason within the country, but in turn justifies violence between countries in the form of war.


Nevertheless, the advancement of globalization is likely to overcome the limitations of the nation state and ultimately achieve rule of reason in the form of a single global civil society. However far that day may be, it is sure to arrive: the direction of mankind is set towards that destination.


If American companies are backed by their country’s overwhelmingly powerful military force when expanding into foreign markets, that is not global. It is global only when American companies expand worldwide purely based on business rationality. Globalization has to be the shift from the rule of power to the rule of reason.


True globalization is in the horizon of social philosophy, not by physical force but by the force of intelligence. That is why Japan has a great opportunity, having abandoned active use of military power, being a small island country bound to shrink further through population decline, and having betted on establishing itself as a knowledge-oriented nation.

Noriyuki Morimoto
Noriyuki Morimoto

Chief Executive Officer, HC Asset Management Co.,Ltd. Noriyuki Morimoto founded HC Asset Management in November 2002. As a pioneer investment consultant in Japan, he established the investment consulting business of Watson Wyatt K.K. (now Willis Towers Watson) in 1990.