Timely essays by specialists, scholars, and journalists interpreting the latest developments in Japan and around the world.

Habu Sachiko: Balancing Work and Family Is Not an Issue for Women Only

Website Nikkei Dual offers a range of information for working parents, including hints for daycare hunting, advice for school entrance exams, quick recipes, and seminars on work-life balance. Nippon.com recently sat down with editor-in-chief Habu Sachiko, who shared the site’s approach to helping people balance their home and work lives.
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Tokyo 2020: Building a Positive LegacyNakabushi Tatsuya

Preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are proceeding apace, though various hurdles remain. Even as Japan strives to complete the advance work, it must also look ahead to the legacy of the games, using them to address existing local problems and to develop human resources for the future.
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Kumamoto’s “Baby Post” and the Right to Know One’s ParentsMorimoto Nobuyo

Since the “Stork’s Cradle” baby hatch was established at Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto 10 years ago, 130 children have been left there by parents who felt they could not raise the infants on their own. A journalist who has closely followed the story casts doubt on the claim that the hatch has been a lifesaver for unwanted children and points out that it violates the child’s right to know one’s biological parents.
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Buying and Selling by Smartphone: Mercari App Shakes Up Japan’s Consumer SpendingNishida Munechika

Peer-to-peer marketplace app Mercari has enjoyed a meteoric rise since its 2013 launch, reaching a total of 75 million downloads. The company’s valuation has soared to over $1 billion to make it a rare Japanese “unicorn.” The app’s ease of use has been a factor in its success, but has also led to problems with low-quality or shady transactions.
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Trump in Japan: Can America Address Its Strategic Shortcomings?Teshima Ryūichi

US President Donald Trump kicked off his tour of Asian nations with his first visit to Japan, a vital ally to the United States. Summit meetings with Prime Minister Abe Shinzō produced agreement on the need for a stronger alliance to pressure North Korea and forge a free, open Indo-Pacific region. But can a fading American presence in the face of China’s rise be reversed?
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Abe’s Election Ploy Pays OffOnoe Kimitoshi

The October 22 snap election for the House of Representatives was short on substance, but Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s bid to catch the opposition off-balance paid off spectacularly, as an old challenger fractured and a new one fizzled. Veteran journalist Onoe Kimitoshi examines the political calculations and missteps behind the latest Liberal Democratic Party landslide and the challenges that lie ahead for the government.
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A Savior in the Night CityTachibana Jun

Young women forced to run away from home to escape abuse, bullying, poverty, and a host of other problems now drift through the nighttime entertainment districts of Japan’s capital. What is most needed to rescue these vulnerable girls, who have fallen through the safety net of Japan’s social welfare system?
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Lessons of the 1997 Financial Crisis in JapanKarube Kensuke

Japan’s economy is still under the grip of deflation and low growth, a situation that can be traced back to 1997 when a financial crisis led to the abrupt contraction of the economy. Two decades later, this article reviews what actually took place in November 1997.
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Japanese iPSC On the Cusp of a Stem Cell Revolution: Research Turns to Clinical ApplicationsTsukasaki Asako

In the decade since Nobel laureate Yamanaka Shin’ya of Kyoto University created the first human iPS cells, the pioneering technology has emerged as an important new tool in drug development, offering hope for patients with rare and untreatable diseases. Tsukasaki Asako reports on recent triumphs and ongoing challenges.
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Credible Opposition to Japan’s Conservatives Beyond HopeKen Victor Leonard Hijino

Japanese politics is roiling on the surface again, with old parties splintering and new parties emerging at a breathless pace ahead of the 2017 snap general election. But it is doubtful if all of this turmoil will make any substantial difference for the dominance of the conservatives.
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