Washington – In reflecting on the 75 years since the end of World War II, the narrative of Japan’s economic regeneration from the ashes of devastation remains nothing short of breathtaking. The onset of the Cold War and the threat of communism, and more immediately the outbreak of the Korean War, were certainly instrumental in the country’s ability to recover from complete defeat. Yet Japan’s rapid postwar expansion was hardly a given even under those circumstances, especially amid trepidation of a re-emerging Japan as a global power.
In hindsight, not only do the stumbling blocks to Japan’s postwar recovery become clearer, but so too does the role that leadership plays in navigating a country out of a treacherous situation. In the face of an increasingly uncertain global outlook amid an ongoing international health crisis that will have severe implications for the world economy as well, a key legacy of the war should be valuing a vision for longer-term growth.