Since the end of the Pacific War, Japan has stood out as a vibrant democracy, resting on respect for human rights, a market economy, and the rule of law. For the last seventy years, Japan has been one of the few countries in the world that has not been involved in military conflicts. It has also been active in a generous program for official development aid to countries in need. Furthermore, its rich culture has continued to gain global attention through its many unique features. In research and development Japan is today in the forefront.

Being the third largest economy in the world also gives Japan’s policies and actions global proportions. Certainly, Japan, like any other country, is not free from social and economic problems, and Japan is in urgent need of social and economic reforms, something which the Japanese government has given top priority. After all, Japanese society has again and again given proof to its ability to adapt to difficult situations, not least shown by the way the triple disasters of March 2011 were handled.

The economy has recently shown signs of improvement, but the inflationary and growth rate targets have yet to be reached. Increased participation of women on the labor market, increased child care facilities and gender issues in general are other challenges of great significance. What Japan does and does not do is simply of great global importance and the Stockholm Japan Center aims at becoming a leading forum for research and discussions on the political, social and cultural aspects of Japan and its global role.

ISDP Stockholm Japan Center is on Twitter. Follow us @ISDP-SJC!

Visit Lars Vargö’s blog Japan-kommentarer on larsvargo.wordpress.com.

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