Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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The Challenge of Entrepreneurship in a Developed Economy: The Problematic Case of Japan
Vol. Volume 8, Number 3 December/2003

Marilyn M. Helms
The experiences with today s Asian financial crisis have highlighted concerns as to whether Japan s once celebrated bubble economy prosperity can be regained. The slow growth of new venture creation in Japan can be attributed to numerous variables including the conventional Japanese business culture, lifetime employment, the seniority system, labor unions inside companies, tight regulatory policies of the government, and the group-oriented, risk-adverse orientation of the population. Piecemeal changes occurring in Japan have made only limited improvements in the infrastructure to support entrepreneurship. The Japanese government s monetary changes designed to support new start-up companies have not succeeded. Using the popular strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, or SWOT analysis, framework, this paper provides a critique of Japan s current situation and limitations to business start-ups. Suggestions and needed changes to encourage entrepreneurial growth are presented.

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