1968 was an epoch-making year in the Japanese economic history, or in the Japanese history in general. In this centennial year after the Meiji restoration, Japan's GNP became the second largest in the world surpassing West Germany. Japan was cruising on one of the most rapid growth trajectories, but it was anticipating the shade of future changes. Student movements flourished, being synchronized the world over, pollution in urban areas erupted and inflationary pressure began to surface. Japan's balance of current account turned into a pattern of chronic surplus, the pattern that led to the collapse of the Bretton Woods regime. In the socio-economic sense, 1968 was a reflection point of Japan's high growth period. This paper describes the economic forces that drove Japan in this pivotal year as well as its social and political background.


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