Japan has long been a leading nation in terms of economic growth, international security, technology, and many other fields. The recovery after the war was particularly prominent, and Japan achieved the second-highest GDP after the U.S. in 1968. However, it has stagnated or declined in the last several decades as other countries, such as China, emerged as new powers in the global field. With a variety of rising issues and threats, including missile launches by North Korea and an aging population, Japan is at a significant turning point for both itself and the world.
Yet, such realities are often hidden away behind popular cultural aspects of the country, such as anime and manga. In thinking about where the world goes, Japan's policy issues should receive more careful attention, particularly from those abroad in the United States. Especially at institutions in the U.S., however, we do not see any continued opportunities where students, including undergraduates, come together and understand the issues on a deeper level. Although Japan is often described as a "homogenous" nation, it has tight and influential ties with foreign countries, and we firmly believe in the importance of having more engagements from international audiences, particularly the younger generation.
Moreover, people and entities in Japan have significantly struggled to deal with the new types of challenges. For example, local governments are desperately finding ways to secure their fiscal revenues with the aging population and population outflows to major cities, including Tokyo, and there is no promised solution yet. While we do not intend to propose firm solutions, we want to provide political organizations and companies in Japan facing critical challenges with outside and creative analysis. We also would like to share our evaluation of the current policies with companies in the U.S. wanting to expand their business in Japan.