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Fiscal Concerns Grow as Abe Again Postpones Consumption Tax Hike

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō announced on June 1 that he would postpone raising the consumption tax from 8% to 10% until October 2019. The decision marks the second time for Abe to delay the hike, putting it a full four years later than planned. It was initially slated to take effect in October 2015 but was pushed back to April 2017 over recessionary concerns. During the press conference announcin…
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Two Decades Behind: How to Give Women a Bigger Voice in Japanese PoliticsMiura Mari

Japan has one of the lowest rates of female representation in politics of any country in the world. What are the reasons for Japan’s lack of progress in this area, and what can be done to improve the gender balance in Japanese politics?
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Barack Obama’s Historic Hiroshima Visit

On the afternoon of May 27, 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, site of the world’s first atomic bombing. Accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, he laid flowers at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims. He then delivered a speech to an audience including hibakusha bomb survivors and the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, offering his prayers for al…
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Signs of Progress in Sochi? Abe-Putin Summit Points to Economic Cooperation, Territorial ResolutionSatō Masaru

On May 6, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian resort town of Sochi. At a closely watched meeting described by US President Barack Obama as a potential threat to G7 unity, the leaders discussed economic ties and the question of the Russia-occupied Northern Territories. Russian affairs and intelligence specialist Satō Masaru gives his take on the summit and what it could hint at.
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The G7 Summit: Japan’s Opportunity for Global LeadershipHosoya Yuichi

The Group of Seven foreign ministers’ meeting in Hiroshima this past April was a symbolic step toward nuclear disarmament and a milestone in Japanese diplomacy. But can the G7 leaders follow up on that performance with substantive agreements to shore up the global economy and protect the international order? Much will depend on Japan’s leadership, writes Hosoya Yuichi.
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The “Inconvenient Truth” Behind Japan’s Toothless MediaOkumura Nobuyuki

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takaichi Sanae caused a stir in February with a comment that broadcasters continuing to air politically biased programs may be shut down. Pressure from the Abe administration continues to mount, but the media has been hesitant to fight back.
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Can Foreign Housekeepers Help Japanese Women Shine?Nomura Hiroko

The government is tentatively opening up Japan’s household staffing industry to foreign recruits as part of its policy to support workforce participation by Japanese women. Staffing services Pasona, Bears, Poppins, Duskin, and Chez Vous have signed on to a pilot program in designated zones in Kanagawa and Osaka Prefectures, where placement of foreign housekeepers is expected to start as early as M…
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Child Poverty, the Grim Legacy of DenialAbe Aya

Foreign tourists visiting Japan see clean, safe city streets filled with neat, well-dressed people. They encounter almost none of the familiar signs of urban poverty, such as slums decorated with gang-related graffiti or homeless people begging in the streets. These outward appearances have helped maintain Japan’s international reputation for economic fairness and equality. It is an image the Japa…
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The Roots and Realities of Japan’s Cyber-NationalismFuruya Tsunehira

The prevalence of anti-Korean and anti-Chinese hate speech on Japanese websites has raised concerns about the spread of a virulent strain of right-wing cyber-nationalism in Japan. Furuya Tsunehira traces the rise of Japan’s “Internet right-wingers” and dispels some myths about their identity and potential impact.
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Japan in 2015: The Year’s Top Stories

Security legislation passes amid protests, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō makes a statement to mark the seventieth anniversary of the ending of World War II, and Japanese hostages are killed in Syria. A look back on the biggest Japan-related stories of 2015.
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