Date: FEB 26, 2016
By: Jean-Pierre Lehmann
The outcome of the acceptance by Japanese electronics giant Sharp of a USD $4.3bn takeover bid by Taiwanese multinational Foxconn remains to be seen. Its symbolic significance however could be quite extraordinary: will Japan’s notoriously insular economy, notably its notoriously ultra-insular electronics industry, be opening up to the outside world and especially to its East Asian neighbors?
When Sharp was founded in 1912, Taiwan was a Japanese colony. In the late 19th/early 20th century, Japan emerged as the only non-Western industrial and imperial power. In its ideological pursuit of what was termed Datsu-A (shedding Asia), Japan sought to join the Western powers both by colonizing its neighbors and by forming alliances with the West: Britain in 1902, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in 1940, and with the US since 1952.
Though Japan’s Asian empire collapsed with its defeat in 1945, it was rapidly rehabilitated by the US following the outbreak of the cold war and liberation of China; in the ensuing decades, it remained aloof from its Asian neighbors. Japan had Asian colonies. It has never had Asian allies. [FULL STORY]