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Japan’s Music Industry: Back on Its Downward TrackIan Martin

In February 2013, the international recording industry body IFPI released its annual Digital Music Report. The statistics in this report sent a buzz around the music world: bucking a global trend of gradual decline, the Japanese music business had actually posted growth figures for 2012. Not only that, the growth had been largely driven by that supposedly doomed format, the CD. What was the secret…
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China’s Rise in a Shifting World Economy: Divergence Between the East Asian and Global ViewsShiraishi Takashi

Happy New Year from Nippon.com. We look forward to your readership over the year to come. As we start 2014, I would like to write about some major long-term developments, namely, the ongoing shift in the world economy and the rise of China. First I would ask you to look at the table below, which presents the changing shares of some major countries and groups of countries in the world economy fr…
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Reforms as the Key to a Successful Growth StrategyYashiro Naohiro

Can Abenomics overcome Japan’s prolonged deflation and get the economy back on the growth path? The key to a successful outcome is regulatory reform. Economist Yashiro Naohiro looks at the reform agenda in three fields: agriculture, urban development, and medical and nursing care.
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Japan Must Engage China, Freeze the Senkaku Debate

We talk with Niwa Uichirō, Japan’s first ambassador to China from the private sector, about China’s economy and the deterioration of Japan-China relations over the Senkaku Islands. Niwa, who returned to Japan in December 2012, calls for the leaders of both countries to meet soon and put a freeze on the Senkaku issue.
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A More Confident Japan in a Strong Alliance: Michael Green Speaks

The international scene in East Asia remains fluid, but the new government in place in Tokyo is showing an energetic approach to economic policy and a more stable hand on the tiller of diplomacy. We spoke to the international affairs expert Michael Green about his views on Japanese politics and the country’s place in the regional and global picture.
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Policy for Science, Science for PolicyShiraishi Takashi

On September 24 Prime Minister Abe Shinzō met in Ottawa with Stephen Harper, his Canadian counterpart. The two leaders effectively decided to adopt a bilateral acquisition and cross-servicing agreement, which will allow Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and Canada’s military to provide each other with materiel and transportation services in cases where they are jointly involved in international humani…
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Abe Green-lights Consumption Tax HikeMichael Schauerte

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō ended months of speculation today with his announcement that Japan’s nationwide consumption tax will be raised from 5% to 8% on April 1, 2014. In making his decision, the prime minister looked to recent economic figures as a sign that Japan’s economic recovery was robust enough to weather the tax hike. He was encouraged by the September 9 announcement that the country’s …
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Abe’s Mandate; China’s Face-off with ASEANShiraishi Takashi

The election on July 21 for the House of Councillors resulted in a major victory for the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the New Kōmeitō. The two ruling parties together won 76 of the 121 contested seats, giving them a solid majority in the upper house (they already hold more than two-thirds of the seats in the House of Representatives).(*1) The LDP won in 29 of the 31 single…
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Tokyo Election; Xi-Obama Meeting; G8 SummitShiraishi Takashi

In the June 23 election for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, all 59 of the Liberal Democratic Party’s candidates won. This is the biggest number of seats the LDP has taken in the past 10 elections for the 127-member chamber, topping the 56 it won in 1977 and 1985. The New Kōmeitō, the LDP’s partner in the ruling coalition at the national level, came in second; it fielded 23 candidates, and as wi…
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Will Methane Hydrates Become a Domestic Energy Resource?Ishikawa Kenji

In seas near Japan in March 2013, methane gas was successfully extracted from seafloor hydrates—a world first. However, there are remaining technical hurdles to overcome before this becomes a viable domestic energy source.
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