Despite its role as a driver of global economic growth through the 1970s, in recent decades the rise of China has seen the international importance of Japan's economic performance recede from the public discourse. This is notwithstanding its continuing key role as economic partner to both industrial and developing countries and changes in its economic performance that would otherwise be a matter for global concern. In particular, the tendency for the Japanese economy and its external trade to stagnate not only has immediate consequences for global performance but also foreshadows a path to industrial transition for other key Asian economies. This paper reviews quantitative studies of Japan's performance. It identifies a paucity of results addressing global implications and suggests new research in this direction.