The Oriental Economist Report (TOE)
is an English-language monthly newsletter focused on Japan and US-Japan relations. With original reports from Tokyo and Washington,
TOE covers key political, economic, and strategic developments inside Japan, as well as policy debates and initiatives
in Washington that could affect the bilateral US-Japan relationship.
A fundamental premise of TOE is that Japan's post-World
War II economic, political, and foreign policy systems have run out of steam. Powerful pressures have built up in the society
for reform. But powerful defenders of the status quo continue to dig in their heels. Japan is stuck between a system that
no longer works and a new system that has yet to take shape.
TOE aims to chronicle the conflict over reform in
Japan, to identify the key trends, issues, and personalities to watch. In essence, TOE is a monthly briefing for business
leaders, policy makers, and opinion shapers who need to know about Japan and Washington's policy toward East Asia.
TOE began in 1934 at the initiative of Toyo Keizai's
legendary president Tanzan Ishibashi, who is rightly remembered for having braved the dangers of the 'thought police' in the
1930s and 1940s by editorializing for a more open political system and an end to Japan's militarism and imperialism. The very
birth of such an English-language journal was an act of defiance, considering the nationalistic environment that existed at
TOE appeared without stop through the tumultuous years
of World War II, and emerged as one of the few English-language publications available to American GIs during the US occupation
of Japan from 1945 through 1952. For much of that period, TOE appeared weekly.
In 1985, TOE was revamped into a 64-page, full color magazine,
and renamed Tokyo Business Today (TBT). During the ensuing 10 years, TBT made quite a name for itself through
its daring critiques of Japan's bureaucracy and consistent promotion of reform.
But in 1996,TBT succumbed to the financial pressures of
Japan's economic downturn. Budget deficits forced a halt to publication.
The decision did not sit well with anyone at Toyo Keizai, so for
the final issue of TBT, the Toyo Keizai board approved an editorial that flatly stated: "We shall return."
After exactly 12 months, Toyo Keizai began to once again publish
an English-language journal, complete with the revived use of the original name, The Oriental Economist Report. In 2003, as part of
its reorganization, Toyo Keizai transferred the publishing rights of The Oriental Economist to a new group of owners
now led by Richard Katz and Takao Toshikawa. Japan Watchers assumed full editorial and business responsibility for
The Oriental Economist in 2003. Although we maintain very friendly relations with Toyo Keizai, The Oriental Economist is a
fully independent editorial and business organization controlled by Japan Watchers, with no editorial or business connection
to Toyo Keizai.
TOE is based in New York City, where editing and production
Since 1997, TOE has become particularly known for coverage
of Japan's continuing economic malaise, the debate over the proper role of the Bank of Japan, the continuing bad debt problem
plaguing Japan's banks, and the country's growing debate over defense and security issues.
The name may strike some as quaint. But 'Oriental Economist' is
the precise English translation of the Japanese title Toyo Keizai, which began publication in 1895.
Moreover, the original Oriental Economist maintained a worthy
standard of insight and integrity that we hope to uphold.
That standard was reflected in a statement that appeared in the
very first issue of the Oriental Economist in 1934: "This Journal is independent. It receives no subsidy. It is in
no sense propaganda. It is unbiased by any racial, national, or other slant except toward liberalism. Politically it represents
the consistent liberal thought of Japan."
Today, TOE strives to achieve the ideals and goals reflected
in that original mission statement.