The prewar economy of Japan was a Socialist economy and the country was ruled by an emperor up to WW2 and after WW2 it started to lean towards a mixed market economy until what it is today although its government is Socialist it is leaning towards a mixed market economy.
The Japanese economy is a mixed economy that leans towards market, it is like this because almost all business are run by private corporations or people and that is the market in the economy. And the reason that they are thriving and are so competitive is because of the trade tariffs and quotas that the government has in place. These regulations include heavy taxes on some products and denial on some others for example: the way Japan will only let certain foreign cars in to Japan and even then they are so heavily taxed that the average Japanese person can't pay that much and will have to buy a Japanese made car and at the same time in other countries they are selling their cars for less than anyone else in that country and that is what they do with most of their products and is how they get a trade surplus year after year.
Manufacturing is the most important economic activity in Japan it accounts for about 28% of it's GDP. The Japanese people import more than half of the products that they manufacture from other countries in their crudest form and manufacture them into transportation equipment, iron, steel, chemicals, petroleum and coal products and textiles. Most of these products are produced by large corporations with many employees and the happier the employees are the more it will be done.
An aspect of a market economy that Japan has is the way the companies treat their workers. The way...