Should we subsidize manufacturing jobs so the U.S. has more things to trade?
It seems like we don't make anything here anymore. Everything is made somewhere else. Should we subsidize jobs in manufacturing so that we actually make things here again?
And you can include Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands, among others to the list. I shouldn't have singled out Japan.
And if they have few natural resources to "leverage", then what? Japan didn't "get rich" the way you described. Not that they were really "free" in their trade with other nations, but your description of how nations become wealthy is severely lacking any sense of nuance.
It seems pretty obvious that countries only get rich and strong by leveraging natural resources with a period of protectionism. Name one country that got rich using a pure open-borders, free-trade method.