This study uses historical analyses to offer recommendations on developing the international competitiveness of Japan’s petroleum industry. The choice was made to focus on historical processes in discussing this contemporary subject, as this study uses applied business history to perform analyses.
This study outlines Japan’s policies with regard to small businesses and small business financing, from the prewar period and throughout the postwar reconstruction period, from the viewpoint of international comparisons. The stance of the Japanese government vis-à-vis small businesses in the prewar period was that it should strengthen product competitiveness and credit by organizing them. However, the connection between those policies and finance was weak. Nonetheless, many small businesses made active use of informal transactions or private financial institutions that served small businesses. During wartime, the government forced small businesses to join the munitions industry or face closure. To facilitate changes or closures in small businesses, a governmental financial institution was established. On the other hand, the provision of loans for small businesses via private financial institutions or informal transactions quickly dissolved. During the postwar reconstruction period, the government established the Small Business Agency, resumed policies by which to rationalize and modernize small businesses through better organization, created new financial institutions that served small businesses, and launched government-funded financial assistance packages for small businesses. It is clear that essential institutions and policies supporting small businesses during the time of high economic growth stemmed from the postwar reconstruction era.
The objective of this paper is to further an understanding of the conditions of competitiveness in the global watch industry from the 1950s to 2010, taking Hong Kong as an example. Analyzing its organizational structure and its integration into the international division of labor over this period makes it possible to highlight three different phases, during which Hong Kong benefi ted from various competitive advantages that supported the expansion of its watch industry (i.e., subcontracting in the 1950s and 1960s; assembly of electronic watches in the 1970s and 1980s; and the implementation and use of new global value chains from the late 1980s).