Comprehensive series of articles on themes too broad or complex to be addressed in a single post.

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The Road to Recovery: Three Years On from 3/11Japan Data

Three years have passed since the widespread devastation of the Great East Japan Earthquake. How far has the nation come along its path of recovery from the earthquake, tsunami, and disaster at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station?

Obusedō: A Tradition of Chestnut Sweets and Local CultureBusinesses Made in Nippon

Located in Nagano Prefecture, the town of Obuse is known for its confections and chestnuts. It also boasts a unique culture, with influences dating back to Edo-period icons like the artist Katsushika Hokusai and many family-run businesses located there to this day. In recent years, these businesses have come together to restore the historical atmosphere of Obuse, ensuring that its rich past stays relevant into the future.

Timeline for March 2014Japan Timeline

Japan’s Paralympic athletes bring home six medals from Sochi; Osaka takes the country’s highest skyscraper crown from Tokyo; Japan makes moves on the diplomatic front; and an ICJ ruling halts the country’s whaling program. Here’s an overview of what happened in March 2014.

Japan, Korea Participate in First Summit Since 2012Japan Data

On March 25, trilateral talks among the leaders of Japan, South Korea and the United States were held in The Hague. Convened at the request of US President Barack Obama, the talks were the first formal meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and South Korean President Park Geun-hye since the two took office. Will this prove to be a step toward a more lasting thaw in relations between these neighbors? Here we trace some of the notable recent developments that led to this stage.

First Year of Abenomics Boosts All Economic IndicatorsJapan Data

Since returning to office on December 26, 2012, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has targeted economic recovery through his Abenomics policies. The first year has seen improvements in all areas, but what issues remain?

Eurasian Diplomacy in Japan, 1997–2001Reflections on Japan’s Post–Cold War Foreign PolicyTōgō Kazuhiko

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of China in the 1990s, Japan’s leaders recognized the need for a more independent foreign policy adapted to the realities of the post–Cold War era. “Eurasian diplomacy” played a crucial role in this transition, as related by a former top Foreign Ministry official closely involved in the policy’s development and implementation under three successive LDP prime ministers.

Timeline for February 2014Japan Timeline

Japanese athletes experience success and disappointment in Sochi; a new governor defeats antinuclear candidates to win election in Tokyo; and record snowfall brings chaos to parts of Japan. Look back on the top Japanese news stories of February 2014.

The Age of Public Diplomacy: Soft Power Game in East AsiaSymposium Reports

The third session of the symposium focused on public diplomacy in East Asia, particularly the increasing tension that marks Japan’s relations with China and South Korea as well as each country’s public diplomacy efforts. The session was moderated by Kondō Motohiro, former editor-in-chief of Chūō Kōron.

The Age of Public Diplomacy: How It’s Done, and How It Could Be Done BetterSymposium Reports

The second discussion panel focused on the “instruments of public diplomacy.” The panelists spoke about their experiences of public diplomacy from a variety of perspectives. Professor Watanabe Yasushi of Keiō University was moderator.

Timeline for January 2014Japan Timeline

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō's busy schedule takes him to Africa, Switzerland, and India; the Tokyo governor race begins to heat up; and scientist Obokata Haruko announces a potentially major discovery in cell biology. Review the events that shaped Japan in January 2014.

The Age of Public Diplomacy: From Enmity to AmitySymposium Reports

The first discussion session focused on “The Importance of Public Diplomacy.” The panelists looked at public diplomacy in Japan today through the lens of a comparison with diplomatic policy in postwar Germany. The moderator was Andrew Horvat, invited professor at Jōsai International University.

Japan’s Foreign Visitors Top 10 Million for the First TimeJapan Data

The number of foreigners visiting Japan annually surpassed the 10-million mark in 2013, setting a new record. Now Japan aims to build on this success in a bid to become a top global tourist destination.

State Secrets Protection Law Passes DietJapan Data

A state secrets protection law aimed at safeguarding classified information on foreign affairs and security was promulgated on December 6, 2013. The government regards the law and the newly created National Security Council as the two indispensable pillars of Japan’s security and defense strategy. Meanwhile, the government must deal with the challenge of striking a legal balance between national security and citizens’ right to know.

Public Diplomacy: Why It Matters and How It WorksSymposium ReportsKent Calder

Public diplomacy efforts are an increasingly vital part of Japan’s diplomatic outreach, particularly in the light of friction between it and its neighbors over territorial and historical issues. On November 5, 2013, we cohosted “The Popularity of Nations: How and Why Governments Seek Public Approval Abroad,” a symposium to explore public diplomacy questions. Kent Calder, director of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, gave the keynote address printed below.

Dassai: How a Rural Sake Brewery Took On the WorldBusinesses Made in Nippon

Thirty minutes by car from Iwakuni, deep in the mountains of Yamaguchi Prefecture, is the home of Dassai, a top-quality sake that has been highly acclaimed both at home and abroad. We take a look at how this small brewery rose from unpromising beginnings to become a major player on the international market.

Japan Pledges ¥10 Billion to Aid Myanmar’s Ethnic MinoritiesGlobal Partnerships

The Japanese government recently pledged to provide ¥10 billion in aid to support peacebuilding efforts in Myanmar between the central government and armed ethnic minority groups. Food and medicine will be distributed to areas affected by armed conflict.

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