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Record 97.6% of Job-Seeking Grads in Japan Get Positions (News)

Tokyo, May 19 (Jiji Press)—The employment rate for university students who were actively seeking jobs after graduation in spring this year came to 97.6% as of April 1, hitting the highest level since the survey began in 1997, the labor and education ministries said Friday. The figure for new graduates was up 0.3 percentage point from the year-before level. The employment rate as of April 1 rose…

Survey Finds Japanese Firms’ Net Profits Up 21% in Fiscal 2016 (News)

Tokyo, May 13 (Jiji Press)—Combined group net profits at major Japanese nonfinancial companies soared 21.1% in fiscal 2016 (April 2016–March 2017), a Jiji Press tally showed Saturday. The survey covered 1,117 nonfinancial companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section that have already released their earnings reports. Of them, 387 firms logged record profits. The strong results…

Married Person’s Average Allowance Lowest Since 2007: Survey (News)

Tokyo, May 1 (Jiji Press)—A survey by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. has found that the average monthly sum a married person can spend freely is ¥25,082, the lowest amount since the survey began in 2007. The amount was ¥4,421 less than the ¥29,503 recorded in 2016, when the monthly allowance rose for the first time in six years, according to the Internet-based survey conducted for eight days t…

The Japanese Economy in 2017: Cause for OptimismTakumori Akiyoshi

What does this year hold in store for the Japanese economy? Takumori Akiyoshi, chief economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management, explains why government and private-sector economic forecasters believe that a long-awaited upswing is finally at hand.

The Political History of the Consumption Tax

In June 2016, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō once again postponed the next consumption tax hike. The rate will climb from 8% to 10% in October 2019, fully four years after the originally planned date. In this article we trace the history of consumption tax policy in Japan.

Timeline for April 2016

The retail electricity market opens up, the G7 foreign ministers gather in Hiroshima, and Kumamoto is rocked by earthquakes. All these and more are the top stories for Japan in April 2016.

Tourism Emerges as New Economic Pillar

Japan’s finance ministry announced that visitors to Japan in January–October 2015 outspent their Japanese counterparts overseas by more than ¥900 billion, launching the country’s balance of payments for travel into the black for the first time in decades. Figures were bolstered in part by a weaker yen, which has helped make Japan an appealing destination for tourists.

The Abe Government Grapples with Low IT InvestmentTobias Harris

Since returning to power in December 2012, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has struggled to advance the so-called “third arrow” of Abenomics, which includes both structural reforms to transform the Japanese economy and an industrial policy that uses state power to foster new industries. Perhaps the tip of that arrow—and a key to its advancement—is information technology policy. In fact, as Abe’…

Abe Shores Up Power with Cabinet ReshuffleKakizaki Meiji

On September 3, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō reshuffled his cabinet and leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party for the first time since assuming office in 2012. Political journalist Kakizaki Meiji considers the motivations behind Abe’s choices and the effects they will have on the balance of the administration and his party.

The Glow of the Human Touch: Why Shoeshine Stands are Making a ComebackAhmed M. F. Mostafa

The words “street children” don’t conjure up images of Japan for most people, but don’t be fooled into thinking that no link exists. The 1950s, for example, saw big hits for both Akatsuki Teruko with her 1951 song “Tōkyō shūshain bōi” (Tokyo Shoeshine Boy) and Miyagi Mariko with “Gādoshita no kutsumigaki” (The Shoe Polisher Beneath the Tracks) in 1955. A long row of shoeshine stands on a Shibu…

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