Japan is the world’s third largest economy; it is modern, its people enjoy longevity and very high living standards. It is also safe, has a peace clause in its constitution and has played an important role in economic development in Asia. But Japan faces major challenges with an ageing and shrinking population, two decades of slow growth, rising inequality, a democracy dominated by one party, rapid and major change in its immediate regional neighbourhood and unresolved history and uneasy relations with its neighbours upon which it relies for economic prosperity. Japan is a unique country in a unique situation. This course tackles the big questions facing Japan — many of which can be applied to thinking about other countries. The course helps students understand more about the Japanese economy, politics, society and foreign policy, as well as how those fit together. The course exposes students to the key policy debates in Japan and draws upon not only the strong academic expertise at ANU but also the expertise and experience of a range of top scholars and thinkers on Japan who will guest lecture and join the student debates and presentations. The course includes participation at the annual Japan Update conference and connects policy relevant research to teaching in an innovative way.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:1. Become familiar with the brief history of Japan’s economic development and features of Japan’s institutions, political system and society
2. Be able to identify and critically analyse a major reform priority for Japan
3. Gain an understanding and be able to discuss and debate Japan’s changing role in the world and relations with other states.
4. Work in groups to discuss and debate domestic and foreign policy challenges through more than one disciplinary lens.
5. Written and oral communication of complex policy ideas in an accessible manner.
Indicative Assessment• Presentations around an aspect of Japan’s changing role in the world (10%) (learning outcome 3, 4)
• Paper of 1,000 words on an aspect of Japan’s changing place in the world (40) (learning outcome 3, 4)
• Longer paper of 2,500 words identifying and arguing for the most important policy reform facing Japan whether it be economic, political, foreign policy or social. (50%) (learning outcome 1, 2)
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Workload33 contact hours
Expected 50 hours reading, essay writing and preparation for seminars.
Requisite and Incompatibility
You will need to contact the Crawford School of Public Policy to request a permission code to enrol in this course.
Preliminary Reading‘A Japan that can say “yes”’, East Asia Forum Quarterly, Vol.6 No.3, 2014.‘Japan-China relations’, East Asia Forum Quarterly, Vol.7 No.3, 2015.‘Reinventing Japan’, East Asia Forum Quarterly, Vol.8 No.3, 2016.
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