Japan's economy has been surpassed by other nations. What reasons explain the decline of the Japanese "economic miracle?"
From a more simple perspective, Japan is an island country, and therefore limited by the amount of resources, especially energy, that it can acquire. If we add to that the fact that they have a high standard of living along with excellent pay for their workers, and they suffered some of the same competition pressures that the United States and other industrialized countries have faced, that of cheap labor and outsourcing.
It seems, too, from my experience with Japanese students, that the idea of teamwork in the corporate world has also played a part in the plateau of Japanese business. The students seemed almost incapable of working as individuals. They were obviously upset when they were assigned to groups that did not include all Japanese students. When they were expected to work alone on projects, they were visibly agitated. True, working together makes for greater strength, but oftentimes great ideas come from individuals who work with others to see those ideas come to fruition.
I would agree definitely with the second reason cited in #2. Japanese culture is renowned for its tradition and inflexibility in terms of change. Yes, they do work incredibly hard, but it is the lack of flexibility and the way that Japanese business finds it so hard to respond with flexibility to changing global economic circumstances that puts Japan at a serious disadvantage.
One of the major reasons given for the decline of the Japanese economic miracle is summed up in the link below. The link discusses the pros and cons of the Japanese agency formerly known as MITI. MITI was given much of the credit when Japan was riding high but many scholars now argue that it was to blame for Japan's "fall." They argue that having the state try to decide which industries should succeed is inherently inefficient. They argue that MITI made too many mistakes that did not allow Japan to really progress.
Another commonly advanced reason is Japan's corporate culture. This argument asserts that Japan's business culture is too conservative to succeed in today's world. It points to things like the alleged Japanese tendency to have firms that guarantee lifetime employment and the practice of having advancement be strictly by seniority. These sorts of practices make Japan's corporate culture hidebound and inefficient.
These are two of the causes most commonly cited as reasons for the decline of Japan's economy.