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About the Japan Program


Shinkansen to Osaka, March 2011.
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The Japan Program (formerly the Japan Studies Program (JSP)) was formally established in November 2011, renewing the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center’s commitment to this important field. As an integral component of the Center, the Japan Program facilitates multidisciplinary, social science-oriented research on contemporary Japan, emphasizing both academic scholarship and policy-relevant research. The program aims to become a central platform for Stanford students and the broader community for understanding and engaging with Japan.

Japan has been undergoing a transformation in the past two decades, and its experiences are being re-evaluated in light of recent global events. After Japan’s bubble economy burst in the early 1990s, the country experienced recessions, slow growth, and a banking crisis. Its electoral rules changed and the party in power since 1955 fell suddenly in 2008. Concerns about income inequality became major issues, and society entered into an era of demographic shrinking and aging. As it weathered these events and challenges, Japan underwent a range of political, economic, and social transformations. Emerging out of these transformations is a new Japan that offers quite a different picture from the old rapid-growth era Japan with which most people are familiar.

The implications are varied and widespread, ranging from lessons from Japan’s economic experiences, to the global appeal of its popular culture, to discoveries stemming from the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. Japanese firms continue to be globally competitive in certain areas, and on the security front, the country remains one of the closest allies of the United States and a powerhouse in Asia.  

Research and Program Activities

Program activities include the Japan Colloquium Series, conferences to further cutting-edge research and address critical contemporary policy issues, and public seminars. The goal of the Japan Program is to become an eminent platform to foster intellectual exchange among scholars, experts, top-tier professionals, policymakers, and students.

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