National Geographic : 1964 Oct
windows were full, crowds on the streets were handsomely dressed, and thousands on thou sands of sleek Japanese cars choked the streets. Nick nodded happily. "Even to Americans, the figures are stag gering," he said. "In construction, Tokyo starts 800 major new buildings a year, more than two a day. The city's-and Japan's economic growth rate runs about 10 percent a year, the highest in the world. In 1959 the rate rose to almost 18 percent; now people are 450 talking about the recession." He smiled. "We have a stock market, too, and it's do ing just what yours is. Since 1949, for exam ple, a share of Canon Camera Company stock has multiplied 865 times in value." "What's behind it all?" I asked, trapping an elusive piece of shrimp with a chopstick. "We are," Nick said simply. "The Japanese people. You'll get other answers-postwar aid, protective tariffs, new markets in Asia, and all of these things have helped. But basi cally the boom is built on Japanese brains, skill, and fantastic energy."