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

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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 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.

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

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.

Rebuilding Onagawa
A Tōhoku Town Returns to Life
No Way Home: The Inescapable Plight of One Fukushima Community
I Am Fukushima
Earthquake Orphans’ Hard Road to Emotional Healing

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.

Nature and Asian Pluralism in the Work of Miyazaki Hayao
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

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

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

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

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