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Major Makeover for the University Entrance SystemIsoda Fumio

Japan’s university entrance exam system and high school education are on the verge of undergoing a large-scale reform. Factors driving the reform include changes in the university student selection process, wrought by the declining birthrate, and awareness that the current system is not doing enough to prepare students for a global world.
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Leprosy as a Human Rights Issue

On January 27, a ceremony was held in Tokyo to announce the 2015 Global Appeal to End Stigma and Discrimination against People Affected by Leprosy. Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and other dignitaries pledged their support for the struggle against leprosy-related discrimination.
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Rebuilding Japanese Finances: Tackling a ¥1 Quadrillion Debt

The third Abe cabinet, formed after a landslide victory for the Liberal Democratic Party in the December 2014 election, has embarked on a wide range of economic policies. Over the short term, the key questions are how to break out of deflation and stimulate the economy. Looking farther ahead, the road is thorny as the government tries to move forward on the Abenomics growth strategy and restore fiscal soundness.
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Terror Strikes During Abe’s Mideast TripKamal Gaballa

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s visit to the Middle East, which this week took him to Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, was dramatically interrupted on January 20 by a terrorist incident targeting Japanese nationals. The group calling itself Islamic State, or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), released a video that afternoon (Japan time) claiming to have taken hostage the journalist Gotō…
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Ambivalent Mandate for the Abe CabinetTakenaka Harukata

Was the ruling coalition’s landslide in the recent general election a sweeping mandate for Prime Minister Abe’s economic policies, as the government has claimed? Political scientist Takenaka Harukata suggests otherwise, arguing that voter support for the status quo rests on disillusionment with the opposition and uncertainty about the long-term success of “Abenomics.”
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Senkaku Power Game: An Overview of the Japan-China Islands Dispute

In September 2012, Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands brought a flare-up to a simmering dispute with China over who owns the territory. As a result, the November 2014 bilateral summit in Beijing was the first between the countries’ leaders for over two years. This article summarizes the complex history of the islands and the dispute and explores the larger issues of sea power in the region.
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Timeline for November 2014

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō calls a general election, the first meeting between Japanese and Chinese leaders for over two years takes place, and film star Takakura Ken passes away. These are the top news stories for November 2014.
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APEC Summit in Beijing Brings Minor Thaw to Japan-China Relations

The first formal talks between Japanese and Chinese leaders in two and a half years took place on the sidelines of this month’s APEC summit in Beijing. Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and President Xi Jinping spoke for the first time since assuming leadership, marking an upturn for frosty bilateral relations. This article summarizes the key points of the latest summit and the 25-year history of APEC.
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Kuroda Launches Fresh Salvo in Effort to Stimulate Economy

The Bank of Japan’s October 31 surprise announcement of a fresh round of quantitative easing comes at a crucial time in Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s bid to revive the Japanese economy through his Abenomics policies. Japan’s economic growth has stagnated since the government moved in April 2014 to increase the consumption tax by three points to 8%. Allowing the economy to remain flat would seriously…
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Japan’s Foreign Policy Options Following Asahi’s “Comfort Women” RetractionTōgō Kazuhiko

What can the Japanese government do to resolve the comfort women issue? Blaming fabricated media reports will do little to change international opinion. Its only choice is to achieve reconciliation with former comfort women while they are still alive.
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