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Ministry of International Trade and Industry

(Tsūshō-sangyōshō; MITI). The single most powerful agency in the Japanese government during the 1950s and 1960s. At the height of its influence, it ran Japan as a centrally-managed economy, funding research and directing investment. MITI was created 1949 and charged with coordinating international trade policy with other groups such as the Bank of Japan, the Economic Planning Agency, and the various commerce-related cabinet ministries. A major objective of the ministry has been to strengthen the country's industrial base. It has not managed Japanese trade and industry along the lines of a centrally planned economy, but it has provided industries with administrative guidance and other direction on modernization, technology, investments in new plants and equipment, and domestic and foreign competition. As late as the 1980s, prime ministers were expected to serve a tenure as MITI minister before taking over the government. MITI lost influence when the switch was made to a floating exchange rate between the dollar and yen in 1971. Later, intense lobbying from other countries, particularly the United States, pushed Japan to introduce more liberal trade laws that further lessened MITI's grip over the Japanese economy. By the end of the 20th century, it was folded into a larger body. In 2001, it was reorganized into the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI). (from Wikipedia)

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