爱思英语编者按:日本一直以其出口制造业产品和海外投资闻名于世,对于外国资本的进入,日本国内一直存在排斥情绪。据联合国的数据,日本吸引外资的金额与其经济规模的比例在世界上处于倒数的位置。2009年流入日本的直接投资仅占其GDP的0.24%,到2011年流入日本的海外资金不仅没有增加,反而减少了23亿美元。其中部分原因来自2011年发生的“3·11”大地震。日本企业在加速外移。“3·11”地震后日元大幅升值,2011年第三季度一度达到1美元兑75日元,日本企业以此为时机,加快了海外并购和投资的步伐。2011年日本对外投资总额达1156亿美元,同比增长102%,仅次于美国,居全球第二位,加剧了日本长期以来产业空心化的问题。

Banyan

菩提

The hollow men

空心人

The deindustrialisation of Japan may be neither as complete nor as damaging as feared.

日本的去工业化进程或许仍将持续,但危害似乎并未如预料那样可怕。

AT A TIME when the “hollowing out” of Japan’s economy, in train now for three decades, is widely perceived to be accelerating, the country’s industrialists must feel they cannot win. For years they have been accused of being left behind by a fast-changing world. Their risk-averse management, ponderous decision-making and emphasis on market share over profitability have seen them overtaken by nimbler rivals in South Korea and China. In the words of Yuki Kuboshima of Deloitte, a consultancy, Japanese business lost 10-20 years as it embraced globalisation in the markets it did business in, but not in its management.

日本经济的“空心化”如今已持续了三十年,而且人们大都认为这一进程只会愈来愈快。此时此刻,日本的企业家们肯定是心灰意冷,感觉前景渺茫。多年来,人们责怪他们让日本落后于高速增长的世界经济。日本企业家们的风险规避管理方法、呆板的决策方式与市场份额比盈利更重要的观念,使他们被来自韩国与中国的头脑灵活的竞争者们所超越。在德勤会计师事务所工作的久保岛由纪(Yuki Kuboshima)评论说:日本企业热情参与了其业务范围所及的市场全球化进程,但没有以同样的态度投入到全球化市场的管理中。因而日本企业失去了10~20年的发展良机。

Since March 11th last year, however, Japanese firms have been under fire for almost the opposite reason: being too quick to react to the cataclysmic earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown. For this reason, wrote Yoichi Funabashi, a former chief editor of the Asahi Shimbun daily, shortly after the tsunami, senior industrialists were careful not to mention the “C” word (China) when discussing their plans. Fleeing troubles at home by moving production there looked unseemly and unpatriotic.

但自去年3月11日后,日本企业却由于几乎相反的原因而饱受攻击。人们认为在日本经历了灾难性的地震、海啸及其后的核反应堆熔毀事故后,日本企业反应过快。《朝日新闻》前总编辑船桥洋一(Yoichi Funabashi)对此进行了评述。他写道,正是出于这个原因,海啸发生后不久,各企业的高管们在讨论自己企业的下一步行动计划时,都小心翼翼地避免提到“中国”二字。将生产线转移到中国在日本国内会被认为是不合时宜、没有爱国之心的举动,他们担心惹火烧身。

According to Ulrike Schaede, professor of Japanese business at the University of California in San Diego, about one-fifth of Japanese manufacturing already takes place outside Japan. For electronics, the proportion is more than 30%, and for cars just over half. Pessimists fear this process will leave post-industrial devastation in its wake back home. In Japan “industry and employment are on the verge of collapse,” lamented Akio Toyoda, boss of Toyota, a huge carmaker, in May.

乌瑞卡•莎德(Ulrike Schaede)是加州大学圣地亚哥分校的一名专门研究日本经济的教授。据他所述,日本制造的产品中约五分之一是在国外生产的。对电子产品而言,这一比例超过了30%;而汽车则超过了半数。悲观论者们担心,按照这样的趋势发展下去,日本最终将变成后工业化时代的一片废墟。丰田章男(Akio Toyoda)是汽车制造巨头丰田公司的掌门人。他在今年五月哀叹道:“日本的工业与就业正处在崩溃的边缘。”

Industrial decline in Japan has been much less rapid than in some other rich countries. According to OECD data, in 2000-08 manufacturing employment in Japan fell by about one-tenth, compared with about one-fifth in America and a quarter in Britain. Even so, pessimists point out, the former export powerhouse is running persistent monthly trade deficits.

其实日本工业下滑的速率比其他一些富国要慢得多。根据经济合作与发展组织(OECD)给出的数据,2000至2008年间,日本的制造业就业率下降了约十分之一;与之相比较,美国下降了五分之一,而英国则下降了四分之一。既便如此,悲观论者们还是指出,日本这个以往的出口型大国现在是月月都持续着贸易赤字。

The 2011 disasters intensified the pressures driving Japanese manufacturers overseas. For years the yen’s strength has defied the weakness of the economy. Just after the tsunami, rich-country central banks had to co-ordinate intervention—not to prop the currency up, but to stop its further appreciation. Some economists argue the yen cannot defy gravity for ever. Most businesses, however, have to plan for an indefinite high-wire act.

2011年的天灾进一步加大了压力,促使更多的日本制造企业迁往海外。数年来,尽管日本经济疲软,但日元却保持着坚挺之势。就在去年的海啸灾难刚刚发生后,富国的中央银行就不得不进行联合干预——并非要防止日元贬值,而是要阻止日元的进一步升值。一些经济学家认为日元不可能永远逆向升值下去。但大多数日本企业家还是不得不作出计划来,以便进行一场无限期的“高空走钢丝表演”。

Takehide Takahashi of the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association (JAPIA), a lobby group, says he has given up hope of a weaker yen. Sony, an electronics giant, has long been globalising production. It says that, by increasing the proportion of its dollar-based costs, it has reduced its sensitivity to dollar-yen movements “essentially to zero”. However, it is harder to shift costs to the euro area, so it loses ¥60 billion ($730m) in operating profit for every one-yen appreciation in the exchange rate with the euro.

日本汽车产业协会(JAPIA)是一个院外活动团体,高桥武英(Takehide Takahashi)是其成员之一。他说自己对日元贬值已经不抱希望了。索尼公司是一家电子产品巨头,这家企业一直在推行生产全球化政策。该公司说,通过增加以美元为基础的成本支出比例,该公司已经将美元对日元汇率波动对公司的影响减小到“接近于零。”然而在欧元区的成本支出方式却很难改变,因而只要日元与欧元交换汇率升值1日元,该公司就会白白损失了600亿日元(7.3亿美元)的毛利润。

The new big worry is electricity. Just before the Fukushima nuclear disaster, nuclear power provided almost 30% of Japan’s electricity, and the government planned to increase that to 50% by 2030. Since last month Japan for the first time in decades has been without any nuclear generation. A reliable supply of relatively cheap electricity can no longer be taken for granted.

最让人担心的是电力供应,这是一个新出现的问题。在福岛核灾难发生之前,几乎30%的日本电力供应来自核电站。日本政府计划到2030年时将这一比例增加至50%。从上个月开始,日本几十年来头一次没有了来自核电站的电力供应。可靠而又相对廉价的电力供应不再是理所当然的了。

The yen and electricity are only two of a long list of worries. There is the risk of another earthquake—especially a long-feared “big one” for Tokyo. A shrinking population means a dwindling domestic market. Corporate taxes are high, and the labour market rigid. And as others race to sign bilateral and regional free-trade arrangements, Japan is largely a spectator.

令人忧虑的问题有长长一大串,日元与电力供应问题只是其中的两个。有出现另一场地震的危险,特别是出现一场人们长期以来所担心的东京地区的“大地震”。人口下降则意味着国内市场的萎缩。公司税高企,劳动力市场僵化。当别的国家和地区忙着签署双边和地区自由贸易协定时,日本大体上还只是一个看客。

A number of factors, however, are slowing the rush for the exits. The first is that so much production in the most vulnerable industries has already shifted. Then there is the vexed question of where to move to. China, with the magnetic pull of its huge, fast-growing economy, tops the list. But there are worries about rising Chinese labour costs, the rule of law, the security of intellectual property, a recent economic slowdown and even, with a leadership tussle apparently under way, political stability.

然而,诸多因素正在使这股制造业海外转移之潮减缓下来。首先就是最脆弱行业中大量的生产能力已经转移到海外了。接着就出现了应该将这些生产能力转移到哪里这个争论不休的问题。中国经济总量巨大,发展迅猛,具有很强的吸引力,当然位居待选名单的前列了。但人们也担忧中国正在上涨的劳动力成本、法律法规、知识产权保护及最近出现的经济减速等问题。让人们更担心的是,伴随着中国最高领导层似乎正在出现的权力争斗,会出现政治不稳定的局面。

Other favoured countries for Japanese outward investment face troubles of their own. Thailand, one of the most popular destinations, is far from a paragon of stability itself. Moreover, having suffered the agony of the tsunami at home, many Japanese firms then faced supply-chain disruption from floods later in the year in Thailand. Though described as a “once in 50 years” disaster, many fear floods could recur quite a bit sooner.

日本海外投资的其他待选国家也面临着各自出现的问题。泰国是一个最受日本投资者青睐的投资对象国,但该国政治也远远谈不上非常稳定。此外,许多日本企业除了在本土遭受到海啸袭击的灾难,去年末在泰国还面临着由于遭受洪水袭击而带来“供应链”断裂的局面。虽然这场洪灾被形容为“50年一遇”,许多人还是担心洪水泛滥的局面很快就会再现。

So for some, keeping production in Japan remains attractive. In May Toyota’s Mr Toyoda promised to keep large facilities in Japan. Masami Doi, a Toyota spokesman, says that of the 9.6m vehicles it will make this year, 3.4m will be made in Japan, with nearly half of them to be exported. Mr Doi insists this is a commercial decision, based on the value of Toyota’s highly skilled Japanese workforce. But Mr Toyoda said carmakers had to work hard to “make Japan healthy and make Japan smile”. That sounds more like a national mission, or, to be cynical, a concern for the brand’s image, than a focus on the bottom line. Other carmakers, however, are less committed to staying at home.

因此对某些人而言,将生产线留在日本还是很有吸引力的。今年五月,丰田公司的丰田章男就许诺将一些大型汽车制造厂留在国内。丰田公司的发言人土居真美(Masami Doi)说:在该公司今年要生产的960万台汽车中,340万台将产自日本。而半数将用于出口。土居真美强调说这完全是基于商业考虑而做出的决定。理由是丰田公司的日本员工技术素质高,能创造更高的价值。但丰田章男说,公司员工必须努力工作,只有这样才能“促进日本经济的健康,使日本人露出笑容。”这番话听起来更像是在背负着一种民族使命;或者可以把这看作一种极端自私的言论,只关心丰田的品牌形象,而不顾底层员工的死活。然而其他汽车制造企业则没有如此“高尚”,他们纷纷将工厂迁往国外。

With neither bang nor whimper

既不会砰的一声垮掉,也不会在轻轻地啜泣声中消亡

Japan is already uncompetitive in a range of products, from tumble-dryers to DVD players. But optimists argue that it is carving out niches in higher-tech materials, chemicals and components that are then assembled into consumer goods elsewhere. In other words, it is moving up the value chain just as it has always been advised to do. After so many years of trade surpluses, it is disconcerting to lurch into deficit as exports slow and imports—especially of energy—surge. But one reason the yen remains strong is that the current account remains healthily in surplus. That is thanks in large part to flows of income from investments overseas. Hollowing out—shipping jobs overseas, and sending profits home—does have its compensations.

日本已经在从烘干机到DVD播放机等一系列产品中丧失了竞争能力。但持乐观态度的人士则认为,日本企业在高科技材料、化工产品和出口到海外组装成终端消费产品的零部件方面正在开拓自己的特定市场。换句话说,日本企业正在按照人们一直在建议的那样去做,提升价值链。在经历了多年的外贸顺差之后,突然进入到外贸逆差之中,确实令日本人感到不安。出口在减缓,而进口(尤其是能源进口)激增。但日元依然保持坚挺的原因之一是经常账户盈余的持续增长。这种状况主要应归于从海外投资获得的收益回流。将制造产品的工作转移到海外,将赚到的钱送往国内,这就形成了产业空心化。日本当然也为此而得到了补偿。

注释:

1、cataclysmic 

relating to or denoting a violent natural event

自然剧变的,天灾的

2、operating profit  

a gross profit before deduction of expenses

毛利润;营业利润

3、value chain 价值链

企业的价值创造是通过一系列活动构成的,这些活动可分为基本活动和辅助活动两类,基本活动包括内部后勤、生产作业、外部后勤、市场和销售、服务等;而辅助活动则包括采购、技术开发、人力资源管理和企业基础设施等。这些互不相同但又相互关联的生产经营活动,构成了一个创造价值的动态过程,即价值链。