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

A Four-Year Recovery Review

More than four years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck on March 11, 2011. The revitalization effort has entered a make-or-break phase. This series draws on objective data, updates on support measures for tsunami orphans, and local reportage to present a progress report on life in the disaster-hit areas.

Earthquake Orphans’ Hard Road to Emotional Healing

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Japan’s Welfare Policies at the Crossroads

How can a fiscally strapped Japan guarantee a basic standard of living for its citizens in the face of rapid demographic aging and growing disparities in income? In this series we explore some of the social security and welfare challenges facing Japanese society today.

Work-Centered Welfare for the Twenty-First Century
Policy Fixes Needed for Japan’s Elderly Women
Two-Tiered Employment System Hinders Effective Use of Over-60s
Wrestling with Poverty and Income Inequality

Japan’s Game Industry Jumps to New Platforms

Nintendo and Sony once ruled the video game industry, but Japanese share of the world market has been slipping. However, as the market for smartphone games continues to grow, Japanese users are driving global demand.

Video Games: A Winning Strategy for Japan
Many Ways to Play: A Mobile Game Creator Looks at Global Trends
Smartphones Bring New Golden Age for Japan’s Games Industry

Manga and Anime as the Japan Brand

Manga like One Piece, Naruto, and Doraemon and anime from houses including Studio Ghibli have won fans around the world. This series examines the true reach of this success and examines the world of Japanese anime production from different aspects.

Children of Sailor Moon: The Evolution of Magical Girls in Japanese Anime
How Can Anime Build on its Past Success?
Naruto’s Limits: What Soft Power Can Actually Achieve

Abenomics: A Midterm Evaluation

This December marks the second anniversary of Abe Shinzō’s return to power. Will Abenomics succeed in getting Japan’s economy back on track? We are now at the make-or-break point for the prime minister’s policy package.

How Can Trend Growth Be Revived?
Getting Serious About International Tourism
Bolder Reforms Needed to Drive Abenomics Forward

Japan’s Seven Postwar Decades

Seventy years have passed since the end of World War II. Here we review Japan’s postwar path, examine its place in today’s world, and consider its future prospects.

When Will the “Postwar” End? Japanese Youth in Search of a Future
Lessons from the Japanese Miracle: Building the Foundations for a New Growth Paradigm
Japan and South Korea: Time to Build a New Relationship

Boosting Japan’s Regions

As young people from Japan’s regions continue to migrate to big cities, birthrates are declining, the average age increasing, and population dwindling in the areas they leave behind. Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has set regional revival as a key policy area to address, but centralized government initiatives will hardly be enough to keep nonurban communities alive. This series examines some local efforts and considers viable options to ensure a brighter future for those communities.

Ama: A Remote Island Community Shows It Can Win the Fight Against Decline
Lessons from Hokkaidō: Coping with Rapid Demographic Change

Facing Japan’s Extreme Weather Challenges

Extreme weather events are occurring with alarming frequency around the world, and in Japan increasingly powerful typhoons and torrential rains are taking heavy tolls. How should we deal with the threat of meteorological disasters? This section features articles addressing the issue in terms of disaster management policies, the macroeconomic implications of extreme weather, and the current state of global warming and climate change.

Will Warmer Oceans Trigger a Climate Catastrophe?
The Long-Term Macroeconomic Impact of Natural Disasters
Addressing Natural Disaster Risks: The Need for Greater Self-Reliance

How Will Big Data Change Japan?

Strategic uses of big data are expected to spawn a spate of innovative new industries and services, but a number of issues will need to be addressed to capture its full potential, including ways to protect personal information. What makes big data unique, and how can it be effectively used to create value while minimizing risks?

The Challenges of Medical Big Data
“Big Data” Raises Big Legal Questions in Japan
Charting the Future with Big Data

Reflections on 60 Years of Japanese ODA

Japan’s official development assistance program turns 60 this year, and the government is revising its ODA Charter for the first time in over a decade. In this series we observe this milestone by assessing the development of Japan’s foreign aid program from the perspective of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, a development economist, and the head of a nongovernmental organization that has come to play a central role in linking Japanese foreign aid with the people it is intended to help.

Building Legends in International Cooperation: An Interview with JICA President Tanaka Akihiko
Sparking Social Change: Public and Private Partnerships in Japanese ODA
Japan’s Quiet NGO Revolution: Toward a Cross-Sector Model of Foreign Aid
Reassessing Japan’s Development Assistance

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