• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Cultural Studies, Policy Studies, Sociology, Economic History, Political Economy
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Shiro Armstrong
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Winter Session 2024
    See Future Offerings

This course is available in-person. In 2024 the class dates are August 23,24,30 &31; September 4 & 16.

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. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. - Presentations around an aspect of Japan’s changing role in the world. (10) [LO 3,4]
  2. - Paper of 1,000 words on an aspect of Japan’s changing place in the world. (40) [LO 3,4]
  3. - 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) [LO 1,2]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


33 contact hours
Expected 50 hours reading, essay writing and preparation for seminars. 

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed 48 units of 2000 level courses. This course is incompatible with POGO8220.

You will need to contact the Crawford School of Public Policy to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Prescribed texts are not required at this stage

Preliminary Reading

Funabashi, Yoichi (ed) Examining Japan’s Lost Decades, Routledge, Oxford, 2015 

Flath, David, The Japanese Economy, Oxford University Press. Chapters 2-4, 6 and 9.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
In Person
6555 23 Aug 2024 23 Aug 2024 06 Sep 2024 14 Oct 2024 In Person N/A

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