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While today Japan is one of the world’s largest and most advanced economies, a member of the G7 and the most developed country in Asia, in 1964 the picture was quite different.

©David Rooney

After two decades of sluggishness, a recovery could be under way. This time, it could be sustained.

©Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan

Japan gained OECD membership in 1964, the same year it hosted the summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Its entry into the organisation is significant in three main ways. The first is historical: Japan’s joining the OECD, which followed the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1954 and entering GATT in 1955, signalled its successful transformation into a fully industrialised economy. 

Haguiwara Toru and Thorkil Kristensen, Memorandum of Understanding to join the OECD, signature of the Convention, in the OECD Observer No 6, October 1963, page 3 ©OECD

OECD membership crowned Japan’s efforts to reintegrate into the international community after the Second World War, while helping to turn the organisation into a global, rather than European, player. But the country’s accession had to be managed with great care, reflecting tensions of the time. 

Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Italy's minister for the environment, and chair of the 2008 OECD meeting of environment ministers ©Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

Climate change is a pressing challenge, requiring leadership and determined action. At the same time, people are concerned that policies do not put them at an economic disadvantage or unnecessarily undermine their welfare.

Can governments balance these concerns? The OECD’s Environment Policy Committee meets at ministerial level on 28-29 April 2008 under the theme of global competitiveness. Some non-OECD developing countries will also participate, as will stakeholders from business, labour and civil society.

Mari Kiviniemi, Finland's Minister of Public Administration & Local Government

©Finnish government

The global economic crisis is affecting families and communities across the planet. With regions bearing the brunt of the crisis, affecting businesses, jobs and people generally, regional policies are very much part of the solution.

Japan Snapshot 2013

Find key economic figures and trends for Japan from OECD Yearbook 2013

On 11 March one year ago, an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 struck eastern Japan. The earthquake was followed by a huge tsunami and a nuclear accident. All these incidents combined resulted in an unprecedented disaster leaving more than 19,000 people dead or missing and a very large material damage. 

Permanent Representative of Japan to the OECD, Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa, conferred honours on Roger Charles Harmel, former director of Council and the Executive Committee secretariat at the OECD, at a special ceremony held at the ambassador’s residence on 7 December 2011.

“[…] On behalf of the OECD, I express our profound sorrow at the enormous loss of life and extend our condolences to all those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy. At the same time, we admire the courage and resolve of the Japanese people in face of adversity, and we are confident that Japan will emerge from this disaster stronger and better.

OECD expresses sympathy with the people of Japan

In the wake of the devasting earthquake that struck northeast Japan, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “I have written to Prime Minister Kan. It is with great sorrow that we received the news of the earthquake and the subsequent tsunamis affecting many coastal areas. On behalf of all of us working at the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, I would like to transmit our deep sympathy and support in these difficult circumstances. Our thoughts are with the Japanese people, especially those who lost their loved ones.”

Japan: Prime Minister Naoto Kan marks the 50th anniversary of the OECD.

On behalf of the people of Japan, I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the OECD. In this landmark year, I would like to ponder the OECD’s achievements and express my expectations for its future role

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