Probing explorations from a Japanese perspective of the nation's politics and economy, international affairs, and other aspects of a changing world.

Reshaping the Japanese Workplace: Can “Work-Style Reform” Succeed?

As part of its ongoing effort to place the Japanese economy on a sustainable growth trajectory, the government of Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has drawn up a plan for “work-style reform” aimed at limiting overtime, reducing wage disparities, and encouraging more active workforce participation by women and seniors. But what will it really take to wean employers from practices that most of Japanese society takes for granted? In this series, analysts assess the reform plan released at the end of last March and assess the prospects for meaningful change.

Reality Check on Work-Style Reform: Filling In the Big Picture
Work-Life Balance Holds the Key to Japan’s Future
Long Road Ahead for True Labor Reform

Other reports

The Question of Imperial Abdication

The Diet is expected to pass a special one-time law allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate now that the ruling coalition and opposition parties have reached agreement on the sensitive issue. In this series we look at different aspects of the abdication question, including how lawmakers and other have approached the emperor’s desire to step down and historical paths for succession.

The Historical Background of How Japan Chooses Its Era Names
The Compromise and Contradictions in Emperor Akihito’s Abdication Legislation
Inside the Imperial Abdication Panel: A Legal and Political Balancing Act

What Trump Portends for Japan-US Relations

The election of Donald J. Trump as leader of the world’s most powerful nation has cast a pall of uncertainty over the global community. In this series, experts in various fields look at strategies for Japan and other countries going forward in dealing with a US president who has promised to rewrite the rule book.

How Trump Policies Affect the Japanese Economy
When Trumpism Met the East Asian Wall
1917 Revisited? The International Order in the Trump Era
An Expanding Role for Japan: An Interview with Admiral Dennis Blair
US-China Relations Under the Trump Administration: A View from Tokyo
Trump and the Perils of Protectionism: Averting an Economic Disaster

Rebuilding a Region: Tōhoku Five Years Later

On March 11, 2011, a giant tsunami slammed into the east coast of northern Japan, killing 18,000 and triggering the second-worst nuclear accident in history. Five years and ¥26 trillion yen later, the government's reconstruction plan is nearing the halfway point. We mark the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake with exclusive reports on the progress of recovery and the daunting obstacles that remain.

Telling the Story of Fukushima
British Expat: “Don’t Forget Ishinomaki!”
Rehousing in Tōhoku: The Two Faces of Reconstruction
The Fukushima Cleanup Will Take Generations

Forging a Path Forward: Japan’s Universities Face Challenging Future

The Japanese government has been setting forth a series of bold reform plans for the nation’s universities, including the selection of Super Global Universities, change to the entrance system, and reorganization of humanities departments. At the same time, Japan’s universities are scrabbling for ways to meet growing challenges, including globalization, transformations in the structures of industry, and the declining birthrate.

Exam Hell and the Crisis in History Education
Global University Rankings: How Are They Measured?
Higher Education Reform: A Tale of Unintended Consequences

The Significance of the National Security Legislation Controversy

In September 2015, the government secured enactment of its national security legislation despite ongoing protests outside the Diet. The Democratic Party of Japan, the top opposition party, allied itself with the protest movement as it tried to block passage of the controversial legislation. This series looks at the DPJ’s approach and media coverage for clues to the future of Japanese politics and society.

The Polarization of the Japanese Media and the Need for Middle Ground
The Difficult Role of the Top Opposition Party

Corporate Governance: Can Japanese Business Adapt to a New Era?

In June this year, the Financial Services Agency and the Tokyo Stock Exchange released a Corporate Governance Code, touting principles like “disclosure” and “transparency.” A few weeks later, the CEO of Toshiba resigned over a massive accounting scandal stretching back years. Can Japanese business restore faith in the stock market while meeting the challenges of nimble and responsible corporate governance?

Change Brewing in the Boardroom: A Proxy Adviser Assesses Corporate Governance in Japan
In Pursuit of Good Governance: An Interview with Murakami Aya of C&I Holdings
Toshiba Accounting Scandal Highlights Issues in Corporate Governance
Toward a Multi-Stakeholder Model of Corporate Governance

Aging Consumers Reshaping Japanese Market

The graying of Japanese society has progressed to the point where nearly 27% of the population is now aged 65 or older. While an expanding elderly market is creating new business opportunities, concerns about old-age insolvency are also spreading. This series presents a portrait of Japan’s hyper-aged society through consumption data for the elderly, their diversifying needs, and the distribution industry’s strategies in the senior market.

Convenience Stores Going to Customers’ Doors: New Food Delivery Services Targeting Seniors
Redefining How Japan’s Department Stores Cater to Older Consumers
Tapping the Potential of Japan’s Senior Consumers
Consumption Patterns of Japan’s Elderly

Seventieth Anniversary Statement

The world nervously held its breath as Prime Minister Abe prepared to deliver his war anniversary statement. His final choice of wording is analyzed by domestic scholars who helped shape his message as well as by foreign experts.

Interpreting Abe’s War Anniversary Statement

Japanese Women Today

Japan ranked 104th out of 142 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2014, finishing behind the majority of developed nations. While political and economic advancement for women remain at a standstill, increasing nonregular employment and a greater number of single mothers mean that inequality is on the rise. This series examines the range of factors that hold Japanese women back from achieving their potential.

The Birth of Culinary Experts and the Evolving Needs of Japanese Housewives
Role Playing: Persona Building and Female Stars of Japanese Pornography
The All Japan Obachan Party: A Political Voice for Middle-Aged Women
The Plight of Japan’s Single Mothers
Japanese Women Face Tough Reality in Work and Marriage

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