How the mighty have fallen: Forbes ranks world’s leading companies, Japan with only 3 in top 100, Toyota drops from 3rd to 360th


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Hi Blog.  To kick off this week, some important economic news.  As the air keeps going out of the Japanese economy, we have world rankers of companies noting Japan’s comparative slippage.  Forbes has its say below (compare with a decade ago).  This might be a temporary blip, or Japan (particularly Toyota) might rise from the ashes again (good luck on that), but in any case this news isn’t good.  And it’s one more bellwether to me of the unsustainability (not just “souring”) of the system here in Japan.  It will not only affect Japan’s standing as Asia’s “representative” to the world (hello China and its even less liberal human rights policies), but also Japan’s self image and it’s ability to cope with the outside world (and the residents from the outside world who live here).  Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Toyota plummets to 360th in Forbes ranking
Japan Times/Kyodo Friday, April 23, 2010

NEW YORK (Kyodo) Toyota Motor Corp. has fallen to 360th in the Forbes ranking of the world’s leading companies for 2010, plunging from third the previous year.

The sharp drop came after the automaker was hit by a spate of recalls worldwide and a decline in sales amid the global auto market slump.

Only three Japanese companies — NTT Corp., Mitsubishi Corp. and Honda Motor Co. — were ranked in the top 100, compared with 11 the previous year, indicating the diminished presence of domestic firms in the global economy. NTT was ranked 41st, Mitsubishi 78th and Honda 86th.

Major financial groups also fell in the rankings, hit by deteriorating earnings, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. dropping to 369th from 21st.

China, moving in the opposite direction, had seven firms in the top 100, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ranked fifth.

JPMorgan Chase topped the rankings, followed by General Electric and Bank of America.

Full article at

4 comments on “How the mighty have fallen: Forbes ranks world’s leading companies, Japan with only 3 in top 100, Toyota drops from 3rd to 360th

  • jjobseeker says:

    We certainly have to take some of what Forbes says with a “grain of salt” as they could be talking more about portfolio value than actual performance–hence banks and investment firms at the top–but it is definitely an indicator that the honeymoon period for Japan is over. It is no longer the only pretty girl at the prom; in fact we’re starting to see that underneath the ko-gal makeup was really a very plain girl, one without skills or motivation to compete with her up-and-coming rivals. It will be interesting to see how much coverage this gets in local media and how. Will it be a call for more action (probably not), or more “poor Japan” whinings (most likely).

  • While I agree there has been some decline, this is of course reporter bias if not engineering of preception. Remember, most firms world wide have been hit hard also, so there should be some decline in their peers also.

    There is no way that Toyota drops that far, it’s just not backed up by the facts. None of which is to say that Japanese companies have not declined somewhat in relative terms. Largely because there was a lot of money lost in the unwind of the carry trade, and then the US became a QE/ZIRP country too.

    But what do I know? From what I can see, Japan still has an active industrial base and values technology… apparently the US has declared that to be an outdated strategy, or the perview of China only .

    — But doesn’t a falling tide worldwide also lower all boats?

  • No – a falling tide doesn’t necessarily lower all boats.

    Uniqlo readily springs to mind.

    And as deep as Japan is in the proverbial, It would truly be a brave commentator who would suggest that Toyota’s 360th ranking is indicative of it’s long term future prospects.

    Toyota will be sharing the upper reaches of the market when many of us are long gone.

  • Uniqlo and other companies are going well mainly importing things at a good price due to the yen and selling them for a good profit. Of course their marketing is good too and also catering to the de-inflatory market.

    I’m not sure you can get into the Forbes 100 selling t-shirts though.

    Things may be different for some of these companies if they learnt to utilise all skilled labour and capitalised from the available potential, rather than the age, sex and race paradigm.

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