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.
Norman Macrae - Telegraph ObituariesSimilar Jun 22, 2010 – On his retirement in 1988 Macrae was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese Emperor – an honour, one profile noted, that gave him "almost childish delight". ... In a book written in 1984, The 2024 Report: a future history of the next 40 years, he wrote: "Eventually books, files, television programmes, computer information and telecommunications will merge. We'll have this portable object which is a television screen with first a typewriter, later a voice activator attached. Afterwards it will be miniaturised so that your personal access instrument can be carried in your buttonhole, but there will be these cheap terminals around everywhere, more widely than telephones of 1984."
- The modern version of this honor has been conferred on non-Japanese recipients beginning in 1981. The awarding of the Order is administered by the Decoration Bureau of Office of the Prime Minister. It is awarded in the name of the Emperor