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David Warren

Ambassador to Japan, Tokyo
Posted 22 June 2010 by David Warren | Comments

I was very sorry to read in last week's "Economist" magazine of the death of Norman Macrae, who was its deputy editor for many years. 

Norman Macrae was the first journalist to recognise the growing economic importance of Japan in the 1960s.  His seminal essay "Consider Japan" (which can be read in the Norman Macrae archive) was published in September 1962, is a fascinating and powerful analysis of the Japanese economy at that time, and was an important corrective to those who still thought just in terms of Japan as a poor, developing country producing cheap counterfeit goods.  The "Economist" obituary gives many other examples of Macrae's prescience and far-sightedness. 
The sudden jolt of recognition that Japan was about to become - as it had in the late 19th Century after the Meiji Restoration - an industrial giant (two years after "Consider Japan" the world woke up to Japan's success with the Tokyo Olympics) led directly to the British Government's trade promotion activities that I listed in my last article on the blog, the setting up in the early 1970s of the Exports to Japan Unit in the then Department of Trade, and the emphasis in this Embassy's work on trade and investment links with Japan, that lasts to this day.
Do read the "Economist"'s obituary of Norman Macrae - it is a tribute to a massively influential thinker, whose impact is still felt today in the work we do here in Tokyo.

David Warren
22 June 2010

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