Current Institutional Affiliation
Staff Writer, Foreign desk, The Washington Post

Award Information

Abe Fellowship for Journalists 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Staff Writer, Foreign Desk, The Washington Post
Going up? Japan’s race to build the fastest elevators in the world in a slowing China

In 2016, the world's fastest elevator will be unveiled. Created by Japanese company Hitachi, it will be housed in the CTF Finance Center, a skyscraper in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. The elevator is a prime example of a Japanese product being used to further Chinese ambition. While they are dominated on the global market by larger companies, Japanese companies have carved a niche for themselves by creating the fastest elevators in the world. Thanks to China's construction boom, these elevators are often found Chinese towers. Japanese elevator manufacturers have made a big bet on China -- one, Fujitech, moved its global business headquarters to Shanghai. Analysts say that China's construction boom may be nearing its ends. My project will look closely at the how Japanese companies first came to dominate the list of fastest elevators in the world, many of which were first built in Japanese buildings during that country's own boom. I will then look at how these same companies came to focus on China as construction of skyscrapers exploded over the past few years. My project will then ask an uncomfortable question: What happens next? The end product examine the social and cultural trends that led to Japan's high speed elevators appearing in Chinese skyscrapers and question whether there could be potential safety problems in the future. More broadly, it will question what happens to the economic links between Japan and China as construction slows, and whether public policy needs to be rethought for when that happens.