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

The Turnabout of Japan’s Security Policy: Toward “Proactive Pacifism”Kitaoka Shin’ichi

At the end of 2013 the establishment of the National Security Council, the formulation of a National Security Strategy, and other moves shed light on new developments in Japan’s security policy. Kitaoka Shin’ichi, president of the International University of Japan, who played a leading role in the policy-making process for these measures, explains the trajectory of recent developments.

Japanese Companies’ Increasing Overseas Investment and Current Account BalanceŌwada Takashi

Softbank and Suntory Holdings are just two of the most prominent Japanese companies that have bought up major foreign corporations recently. What does this growing trend say about the overall condition of the Japanese economy?

How Corporate Japan Lost Its “Voice”: The Plight of Keidanren in the Post–Japan Inc. EraMori Kazuo

Nippon Keidanren, Japan’s biggest and best-known business lobbying organization, recently announced its selection of Toray Chairman Sakakibara Sadayuki as its next chief—but only after its first and second choices declined the honor. Mori Kazuo surveys the rise and fall of Keidanren, from its emergence as the all-powerful “voice of big business” to its descent into stagnation and irrelevance in Japan’s new economy.

Traditional Japanese Cooking in the Home: An Endangered ArtIwamura Nobuko

Washoku, the “traditional dietary culture of the Japanese,” was recently inscribed on the UNESCO list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. Iwamura Nobuko, a researcher into food and family life in modern Japan, looks at what “home cooking” really means for people in Japan today.

Seeking the Path to Full Deregulation of Online OTC Drug SalesIshikawa Kazuo

How can online sales of over-the-counter drugs serve the needs of consumers in an aging society? Ishikawa Kazuo, a senior fellow of the Tokyo Foundation, addresses the question.

The Zombification of Japanese FarmingGōdo Yoshihisa

Japan’s current infatuation with farming ignores the ongoing decline in cultivation skills. The government has made agriculture one of the pillars of its new growth strategy, but the reforms it has proposed lack substance. Meiji Gakuin University Professor Gōdo Yoshihisa focuses on the dire state of Japanese agriculture.

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