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

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?

Charting the Future with Big Data

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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.

The Long-Term Macroeconomic Impact of Natural Disasters
Addressing Natural Disaster Risks: The Need for Greater Self-Reliance

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

The Many Faces of Japan-China Relations

Rising tensions surrounding the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands are the most-discussed aspect of current Japan-China relations, but the two nations continue to cooperate in a number of fields. This series of articles looks to discover the true state of ground-level interactions between the two Asian powers.

Tackling China’s Diabetes Problem
Popularizing Japan’s “Mother and Child Health Handbook” Overseas
Doing Business in China: A Japanese Retailer Puts Down Local Roots
Maritime Concerns and the Future of Sino-Japanese Relations
China’s Environmental Problems and Prospects for Japanese Cooperation

Japan and World War I

A hundred years have passed since the outbreak of World War I. Some have likened the fraught situation in today’s East Asia to that in Europe prior to the start of hostilities in 1914. In this series we look at Japan’s response to the global upheavals of the 1910s—1920s, a watershed period in the country’s modern history.

The Rise and Fall of Taishō Democracy: Party Politics in Early-Twentieth-Century Japan
A Forgotten Tale of World War I: Life for German POWs in Japanese Camps
Japan’s Post–World War I Foreign Policy: The Quest for a Cooperative Approach

Is Japan Moving to the Right?

International media outlets have pointed to a conservative shift in Japanese politics and society as a whole, but there are questions as to if this characterization is accurate. This series gets to the bottom of this question by taking a look at such topics as collective self-defense, xenophobic demonstrations, and the feelings of younger Japanese.

The Growing Ranks of Japan’s “Mellow Rebels”
The Illusion of “Rising Nationalism”: Internationalism and Xenophobia in Today’s Japan

Tax and Reform: Dealing with Japan’s Runaway Debt

Japan’s public debt stands at twice GDP. To deal with the financial burden of ballooning social welfare costs, the nation is implementing a two-tiered hike in the consumption tax, but without reform these measures will fall far short of addressing pressures brought on by an aging population. This series consider issues surrounding the new tax rate and looks at issues hindering the nation from getting its finances under control.

Clock Running Down on Social Security Reform
Confronting Japan’s Unpleasant Fiscal Arithmetic
The Barriers to Budget Balance in Japan

The Shifting Landscape of Japanese Religion

The indigenous Shintō faith, the introduction of Buddhism, the influence of Christianity, and the rise of new religions after World War II have all shaped the Japanese religious landscape. Understanding the shifts in Japanese belief is one route to understanding the people and society.

Japan’s Religious Ambivalence: The Shaping and Dismantling of a National Polity
Japanese Religion Comes Full Circle: Millennials in Search of Their Spiritual Roots
The Japanese World View: Three Keys to Understanding
“Kami”: The Evolution of Japan’s Native Gods

International Competitiveness of Universities in a Global Age

As global rankings for universities garner more and more attention, there is a mounting call for universities in Japan to raise the bar on competitiveness. After over twenty years of reform, though, what additional steps do Japanese universities need to take?

The Prospects for Reform in Academic Governance
University of Tokyo Strives to Raise its Global Profile
Japanese University Reforms and the Illusion of International Competitiveness
Globalization and Higher Education Reforms in Japan: The Obstacles to Greater International Competitiveness

Japan and South Korea: Doomed to Mutual Distrust?

Two years have now passed since the last summit meeting between Japan and South Korea in December 2011. In this series of articles, we look at the reasons for the deterioration in bilateral ties and consider ways to get the relationship back on track.

Korean Courts Order Japanese Firms to Compensate Wartime Laborers: Background to the Rulings
Why Can’t Seoul and Tokyo Get Along?
The Strategic US-Japan-Korea Triangle: Emerging Perils and Prospects for Cooperation

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