TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese people will be richer than Japanese on a per capita basis by 2028, according to new research by the Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER).
The research institute predicts South Koreans’ nominal per capita GDP will edge above Japan’s in 2027, and Taiwan’s will follow in 2028, according to a report by Nikkei Asia Review. Delayed digitization by Japan’s government and various industries is stalling productivity, the report says.
Last year, Japan's nominal per capita GDP stood at US$39,890 (NT$1,110,537). That figure is currently 42% larger than Taiwan's at US$28,054.
Yet data across various economic indicators (labor productivity, working hours, employment rates, etc.) point to a fast catch-up. The JCER predicts Taiwan’s per capita GDP will grow at 8.4% per annum through to 2025, fast gaining ground on Japan, which will hobble along at 2%.
Boosts in labor productivity, JCER claims, rely on digital transformation — an area Tokyo sorely lags in. While South Korea adopted a digital government portal early on, Taiwan has been accelerating its digital transformation through projects led by Digital Minister Audrey Tang (唐鳳).
Taiwan’s new systems allow citizens and corporations alike to file various applications and enable the speedy distribution of government payouts. In contrast, most Japanese companies still rely on analog methods, including rubber stamping, and still dispatch employees to brick-and-mortar banks to process payments in person.
Despite Japan’s image as a futuristic society in the West, a recent comparative study by a Japanese ministry revealed the country lags far behind the U.S. and Germany in digitizing key business processes. The JCER warns Japan could sink further into the economic doldrums in the 2030s unless it gets cracking with its own digital transformation.