Given these conditions, the Japanese economy (See Table 1), led by increased domestic demand, would be on a 3% growth orbit through 2000 and would continue to grow at slightly more than 3% through 2010. The surplus workforce resulting from the transfer of production overseas and other factors, would be absorbed by he development of new industries and businesses. Unemployment would drop from a high of the mid-3% range to around 2% in the medium to long-term. The current balance would contract in the long term to the desirable level of approximately 1% of GDP because expanded domestic demand would result in an increase in imports than in exports, leading to a balance in trade at an expanded level.
The sectors expected to grow significantly are commerce, transportation, telecommunication/broadcasting, education/research, medical care/social services and personal services. The forecast reflects changes in lifestyle, the advance in information/telecommunications, the aging of society/decrease in family size, shifting weight toward more stock-oriented investment, and the growing seriousness of the environmental problems we face. An unusual recent trend in growth is the increase in businesses and services that cannot be classified using conventional industrial categories and this trend is expected to continue.
Among these new entries into the market, significant development is expected in the so-called "multi-media" industry which uses rapidly advancing telecommunications technology, in cyber-business which creates business and social networks on the Internet, and in the electronic stock trading and exchange of information. Changing lifestyles, which value such things as a family-centered life and outdoor-oriented recreation, could lead to growth of an entire new series of businesses, such as prepared take-out foods, household assistance (such as baby-sitting), travel, sports/fitness, arts/culture, continuing education and amusement services. And in response to the mounting consumer demand for lower prices, we expect that new discount retail businesses will soon become part of the distribution industry.
With the aging of society, growth will also be experienced the areas of home medical services, nursing services, and retail health foods sales. The shift toward stock-oriented investment is expected in the areas of home remodeling and maintenance, to meet the growing demand for better quality housing. And in the arena of environmental businesses, growth is expected in conservation devices, waste disposal and recycling, as well as in a number of businesses related to environmental restoration.