Japan Program scholars regularly author books, book chapters, journal articles, working papers, and policy recommendations. We also share the outcomes of our research projects, proceedings from our conferences, and materials from our workshops and policy outreach activities. Browse our publications below.
Publication Spotlight: Transboundary Game of Life
Promotion of inward foreign direct investment (FDI) into Japan has been an important policy in the Abenomics growth strategy. This paper examines if we observe positive impacts of the policy in the data. We first estimate a gravity model of bilateral FDIs using data for 35 OECD countries as destination countries. In estimating the model, we handle zero values for FDI stock explicitly. The model includes (origin and destination) country-specific effects as well as destination-country specific time trends.
This paper examines how social isolation in a non-Anglophone context where English is not the main language of instruction for local students but is for international students, has unintended consequences for social capital formation among the latter. What factors influence international student network formation in such places where linguistic barriers are institutionalised and what are their consequences not only during college but beyond, in shaping students’ career plans?
On August 9, 2018, the Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center (APARC) hosted a conference, “Break Through: Women in Silicon Valley, Womenomics in Japan" with support from the Acceleration Program in Tokyo for Women (APT).
Under what we call Abenergynomics, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has used energy policy to support the growth objectives of Abenomics, even when the associated policies are publicly unpopular, opposed by utility companies, or harmful to the environment. We show how Abenergynomics has shaped Japanese policy on nuclear power, electricity deregulation, renewable energy, and climate change.
This third volume in the Japan Decides series remains the premier venue for scholarly research on Japanese elections. Spotlighting the 2017 general election, the contributors discuss the election results, party politics, coalition politics with Komeito, the cabinet, constitutional revision, new opposition parties, and Abenomics. Additionally, the volume looks at campaigning, public opinion, media, gender issues and representation, North Korea and security issues, inequality, immigration and cabinet scandals.
Highly readable yet deeply researched, this book serves as an essential guide to the many ways in which Japan has risen to become one of the world's most creative and innovative societies.
• Challenges conventional views of Japan as mired in two unproductive "lost decades" by documenting the myriad ways in which the nation has embraced creativity and innovation
• Describes the ways in which Japan has transformed our lives and explains the guiding principles of one of the world's least understood, most vibrantly creative societies
Abenomics and Japan's Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Is the Third Arrow Pointed in the Right Direction for Global Competition in the Digital Era of Silicon Valley?
Given that much of the global leadership in value creation over the past couple of decades has been driven by the Silicon Valley model – not only a geographic region but a distinct ecosystem of complementary characteristics – the basic question this paper asks is how far Japan’s Abenomics reforms are pushing Japan towards being able to compete in an era dominated by Silicon Valley firms.
Using a unique dataset on all major corporate restructuring events in Japan between 1981 and 2010, we assess changes in the role of the main bank in guiding corporate turarounds, and the economic consequences of these changes for distressed firms. We identify firms in distress among all listed firms based on accounting data, and we separately identify firms undergoing corporate restructuring based on a newspaper search for the Japanese term “saiken”.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming one of the underlying drivers of the next wave of industrial transformations. There is every reason to believe that we are on the cusp of a sea change in how human activities and decision-making are transformed by abundant computing power. This research note will provide the basis for understanding the conceptual building blocks and paradigmatic examples of how the development of AI is accelerating, and how its deployment will be transformative.
Japan is known to have an exceptionally low level of inward foreign direct investment (FDI). The promotion of inward FDI is one of the policy goals of Abenomics structural reforms. This present paper studies the accumulation of Japan's inward FDI stock during the first 3 years of Abenomics (2012–2015), and finds no evidence that Japan's inward FDI stock increased more than the trend before Abenomics started would have predicted.
Kenji Kushida's new book chapter, "Blockchain, a Silicon Valley Vantage on its Potential and Challenges" was published in new book, "The Future of Blockchain: How it will impact finance, industry, and society edited by Yuri Okina, Noriyuki Yanagawa, and Naoyuki Iwashita.
President Donald Trump's ominous threat to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea succeeded at least in garnering the attention of not only Kim Jong Un but the globe. The vague assertion of readiness to carry out a preventive attack on North Korea, even to use nuclear weapons, roiled stock markets, sent Japanese to look for bomb shelters and prompted alarmed warnings against the use of force from both foes and allies, including South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The piece is available in Chinese, English and Japanese.
The most dangerous impact of North Korea’s long-range missile test this past week may not have been the one in the Sea of Japan, felt in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo. It was in Moscow where Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin locked arms in a united front on how to respond to the growing North Korea crisis. The target of this front was not, however, North Korea. It was the United States, who the Sino-Russian axis accused of pursuing a military “buildup” in the region.
In the days leading up to the Washington summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump, the tension in Seoul was hard to escape. Fears of an open clash between the two leaders, of a handshake that went on too long, or of a hostile early morning tweet directed at Moon were widespread. But when a senior national security advisor to Moon met a group of American visitors after the first day of talks, he was visibly relieved. The dinner between Moon and U.S.
Rising powers often seek to reshape the world order, triggering confrontations with those who seek to defend the status quo. In recent years, as international institutions have grown in prevalence and influence, they have increasingly become central arenas for international contestation. Phillip Y. Lipscy examines how international institutions evolve as countries seek to renegotiate the international order. He offers a new theory of institutional change and explains why some institutions change flexibly while others successfully resist or fall to the wayside.
President Donald Trump ascended to office with an estimated $3.5 billion of personal wealth tied up in his global real estate empire. This has raised a variety of concerns about conflicts of interest, particularly the potential for cronyism and corruption. But the greatest danger is that U.S. foreign policy will be fundamentally distorted by the president’s business interests. We face what might be dubbed a “nepotist peace”: The United States will avoid any conflict that puts a Trump Tower, the embodiment of his familial business empire, at risk.
President-elect Moon has gained office riding a wave of demand for social justice and a reform of democratic governance in South Korea. These are the issues that are certain to consume his attention and that of voters. U.S. policymakers need to be mindful that the domestic factors that led to this shift in power in South Korea will remain paramount. That said, the return to power of South Korea’s progressives augurs a significant shift in several areas of policy that will have a clear impact on alliance relations with the United States.
Through the 1980s, Japan was significant in global competition largely by shaping global technological trajectories, transforming major global industries, and contributing to fundamental innovations in industrial production processes, creating enough wealth along the way to propel Japan to the world’s second largest economy. After the economic bubble burst in the early 1990s, however, other places such as Silicon Valley in the United States, moved to the forefront of transforming technology, industries, and production, creating vast wealth along the way.
Two events - the U.S. airstrike on an airbase in Syria following the regime's chemical weapons attack and the leaked reports about tensions between White House staff - shifted the agenda of the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and sidelined, at least for now, talk of a trade war between China and the United States.
In recent years, "innovation" has become increasingly important for Japan. Developing innovative businesses that are separate from the traditional Japanese business sphere is becoming increasingly crucial for sustained economic growth. In this report, Asakura focuses on some emerging companies that have the potential to drive innovation, and provide some reflections on the Japanese entrepreneurial environment.
Scholars at Stanford's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies assess the strategic situation in East Asia to be unsettled, unstable, and drifting in ways unfavorable for American interests. These developments are worrisome to countries in the region, most of which want the United States to reduce uncertainty about American intentions by taking early and effective steps to clarify and solidify U.S. engagement. In the absence of such steps, they will seek to reduce uncertainty and protect their own interests in ways that reduce U.S.
In an op-ed for The Diplomat, Stanford assistant professor Phillip Y. Lipscy says the Trump presidency offers Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe an opportunity to realize his vision of a more prominent Japan, yet the depth of the bilateral relationship and ability to deliver hinge on how much the two leaders can compromise on economic and security interests.
If you want to understand the trade and industrial policy that President Donald Trump is now going to pursue, simply jump into a DeLorean time machine with Marty McFly and go back to 1985. As the title of that iconic film, released that year, proclaimed – it is Back to the Future, Sneider writes.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apparently decided to hold an urgent meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in New York, on his way to the Asia Pacific Economic summit in Peru. It is far from clear what the Prime Minister hopes to accomplish, or whether such a meeting will even be a good idea, so early in the transition process. But one thing is surely true – the Prime Minister needs to go into that meeting with a clear understanding of what has happened in the U.S. and what it could mean for U.S.-Japan relations, Sneider writes.