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

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

Other reports

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

Examining Okinawa Today

Seven decades after some of the bloodiest fighting of the Pacific War, Okinawa remains a battleground. Now, however, Japan and the United States are on the same side, and the prefectural government of Okinawa is fighting both of them on behalf of local residents fed up with the US military presence. In this series we look at the escalating standoff over the relocation of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a historical, political, and security perspective.

Thinking about Okinawa (3): The Regional Security Context
Thinking about Okinawa (2): The Widening Perception Gap
Thinking about Okinawa (1): A Historical Perspective on the US Military Presence
The Okinawa Issue and East Asian Security
Okinawan Identity and the Struggle for Self-Determination

The Value of a Vote and the Bicameral System

Given the wide disparity in the comparative weight of individual votes across Japan’s electoral districts, pressure is growing to reform the House of Councillors before the next election in July 2016. Is there truly a need to eliminate vote disparities? And what is the rightful role of the upper house in a bicameral system?

Weighing Vote Disparity in Japan’s Upper House
The Case for Equal Representation in the Upper House
Clock Ticking Down on Upper House Reform
The Rightful Role of the House of Councillors

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