World Competitiveness Ranking – Where is Japan?
28 Jan 2008

World Competitiveness Ranking – Where is Japan?

World Competitiveness. For the first entry of

28 Jan 2008

World Competitiveness. For the first entry of my guest-blogging, this topic would not be too bad, I suppose.

Thus, World Competitiveness.

According to World Competitive Yearbook 2007 by IMD (International Institute for Management Development), Japan is now ranked in the 24th place, sliding out of the top twenty. Allowing China to pass (China rose from 18 to 15), Japan has moved down eight spots, from the 16th in 2006. In fact, Japan is now surpassed by many of it’s neighboring countries, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and even Malaysia (See the below ranking for details). Though there is a debate over if China truly deserves to be ranked so high, let’s put away that debate for the moment and I would like to think why Japan has fallen dramatically.

One IMD research fellow points out why Japan is slipping, noting some of the factors that I have also pondered many times in the past when thinking about my own country’s higher education system. As she puts it:

[…] Entrepreneurship is not widespread (ranking 57th out of 61 countries), business managers are not characterized as having much international experience (52nd) and there is a low participation of women in business (47th). […] Other obstacles to global integration include a national culture that is closed to foreign ideas (54th) and strict immigration laws (55th), despite the fact that Japan ranks higher for its “attitude towards globalization” (14th).

It has also been pointed out that this low ranking is caused by the serious descrepancies between the skills companies need and the skills Japanese university provides to students.

What does this mean?

To me, it means that the higher education system needs to focus on producing a new type of college graduate: someone who is ready for the globalized economy of the 21st century, someone who can think independently and able to function in the international market, and someone who has great creative mind as well as entrepreneurship.

Yes yes, these points have been discussed for many years by now, but nothing has changed so far, as Japan’s competitiveness ranking keeps dropping down.

I am unwilling to admit, but it looks as though it will take some time before Japan starts climbing back up the rankings… *sigh*

IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2007 (top 30)

1. U.S.A, 2. Singapore, 3. Hong Kong, 4.Luxembourg, 5. Denmark, 6. Switzeland, 7. Iceland, 8. Netherlands, 9. Sweden, 10. Canada, 11. Austria, 12. Australia, 13. Norway, 14. Ireland, 15. Mainland China, 16. Germany, 17. Finland, 18. Taiwan, 19. New Zealand, 20. United Kingdom, 21. Israel, 22. Estonia, 23. Malaysia, 24. Japan, 25. Belgium, 26. Chile, 27. India, 28. France, 29. Korea, 30. Spain.

(Source: http://www.imd.ch/research/publications/wcy/announcing.cfm)

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