HUJPN is a think tank led by undergraduate students at Harvard University and a Recognized Student Organization (RSO) at Harvard College. Membership is open to students and scholars at academic institutions throughout the nation.
We aim to establish a nationwide platform where students, particularly undergraduates, come together to learn about Japan's policy issues with scholars and prominent figures in each field. The issues include the domestic circumstances from inflation and population decline to Japan's relationships with foreign nations, particularly China and the United States.
Read more about the context of our organization and our org-wide goals on this page.
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.
Forum & Discussions
Currently, there are only a few forums or discussion tables about Japanese or East Asian policy issues for undergraduates. In collaboration with the Program on the US-Japan Relations, we hope to remedy this by inviting professors, scholars, prominent politicians, government officials, private companies, NPOs, and other entities from both nations who can speak on critical topics related to Japan both from traditional and non-traditional perspectives. Along with a speaker's panel, we hope to organize small discussion rounds where participants can directly share their ideas with speakers.
We will publish articles about the trending as well as uncovered topics in Japan and op-eds. Japan policy issues are not just about national security or economic issues; rather, they include more grassroots perspectives, such as industrial or tourism policies, which significantly influence Japan's prosperity and prospects. Rather than providing readers with pure knowledge of the events, we intend to introduce them to the topics and help create more active and open bi-partisan dialogues.
Some political organizations and companies suffer from the lack of latest information and exposure to outside, fresh resources. As a group of students with diverse academic and personal backgrounds, we believe we are capable of conducting an evaluation of the current policies of local Japanese governments from non-traditional perspectives, while providing U.S. companies wanting to expand their business in Japan with a creative analysis of current affairs. While we are aware of the limitation of our efforts and knowledge as undergraduate students, we will aim to harness our knowledge and power to assists a variety of entities.