GENEVA — Japan has replaced the United States as the world's most competitive nation in business, the Geneva-based European Management Forum said Monday in a report comparing 31 industrialized countries. The United States moved to second place, followed by Switzerland, West Germany and Denmark.
The study based its conclusions on statistics from international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank and on an opinion survey of leading businessmen and economists in the countries ranked.
It is published annually by the privately financed, independent foundation, which also sponsors international business seminars.
The report said Japan, which dropped from first place in 1984 to third place last year, had recaptured the top spot despite "undue pessimism" reflected by businessmen in the survey. It did not explain what caused the pessimism.
It cited a "growing and efficient research and development effort" and political stability as among Japan's strengths.
The overall picture for the United States is still favorable, the report said. It attributed the drop in position mainly to a "more subdued" optimism on the part of U.S. survey respondents and to poor prospects for near- and medium-term investment growth.