Two Tokyo Olympics show the long arc of Japan's tech decline

Toyota's e-Palette autonomous electric vehicles at the Olympic and Paralympic Village in Tokyo on June 20, 2021. Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg.

When Tokyo last hosted the Olympics, in 1964, the unveiling of a bullet train capable of the improbable speed of 210 kilometers an hour (130 mph) heralded the dawn of a high-tech era in Japan.

Within a decade and a half, innovations such as Sony's videocassette recorder, Toshiba flash memory and Space Invaders, the arcade shoot-em up that revolutionized the gaming industry, made Japan synonymous with global technological superiority, and the talk was of it overtaking the U.S. as the world's biggest economy...

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