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  • Author: Jamal Ibrahim Haidar, Takeo Hoshi
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Improving the environment for business is an important part of the growth strategy of Abenomics. As the KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for this effort, the Abe Administration aims to improve Japan's rank in the World Bank Doing Business Ranking from the current #15 among high-income OECD countries to one of the top three. This paper clarifies what it takes for Japan to be among top three countries in terms of ease of doing business. By looking at details of the World Bank Doing Business ranking, we identify various reforms that Japan could implement to improve the ranking. Then, we classify the reforms into four groups depending on whether the reform requires legal changes and whether the reform is likely to face strong political resistance. By just doing the reforms that do not require legal changes and are not likely to face strong political opposition, Japan can improve the ranking to 9th. To be in the top 3, Japan would need to implement all the reforms except for those that require changing the laws and are likely to face strong political resistance, even under the unrealistic assumption that the other countries do not reduce the cost of doing business. Thus, in order to be one of the top three countries among OECD countries in terms of ease of doing business, Japan would most likely need to carry out all the reforms identified in this paper.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • Author: Tetsuji Yamada, Chia-Ching Chen, Chie Hanaoka, Seiritsu Ogura
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Background: For the past two decades, more and more women in certain European countries, Japan, and the United States are giving birth to their first child at a considerably later age than ever before. It remains unclear as to what extent this age-related general fertility decline is affected by changing social and cultural norms. Method: The Global Centers of Excellence Survey was conducted by Osaka University in Japan (n=5313) in 2009. Multivariate regression analyses were conducted to examine the impact of psychosocial norms, cultural differences, and economic conditions on the perception of childbearing. Results: The findings suggest that a subjective measure of happiness has a significant influence on childbearing. A society with income inequalities between classes discourages childbearing. It is observed that women's higher labor force participation generates a negative impact on motherchild relations which causes discouragement of childbearing. A higher female labor force participation stemmed from a transition of a traditional society into a modern and marketoriented society discourages childbearing. Conclusions/implications: A woman's decision to delay childbearing is based on her perception of psychosocial norms with surrounding economic environment and her own value of opportunity in the market oriented society. Childbearing also imposes psycho-economic burdens on the working population under mix of a traditional, patriarchal society, and a modern market oriented framework. Childbearing incentives could be a strategic policy to encourage positive attitudes of childbearing in general and proper welfare policy, labor law(s), employment conditions, and social security system for a working mother with a child or children.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Health, Poverty, Social Stratification, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Walter H. Shorenstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Meeting after North Korea had raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula in the spring, participants in the Tenth Korea-U.S. West Coast Strategic Forum focused on the implications for the Korean Peninsula of leadership changes in North and South Korea and especially China. Participants also focused on regional dynamics, including increased confrontation between China and Japan and various, sometimes conflicting, efforts to increase regional economic integration in Northeast Asia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Masahiko Aoki, Geoffrey Rothwell
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the impacts of the March 11, 2011, Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. These impacts were amplified by a failure of horizontal coordination across plant, corporate, regulatory, and governmental levels, resulting in a nuclear catastrophe, comparable in cost to Chernobyl. Lessons learned include identifying two shortcomings of the typical Japanese horizontal coordination mechanism: instability under a large shock and the lack of defense in depth. The suggested policy response is to harness the power of “open-interface, rule-based modularity” by introducing an independent nuclear safety commission in Japan and an independent system operator to coordinate sellers and buyers on publicly-owned transmission grids.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel
  • Author: Kyoko Ii
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The objective of this research is to pinpoint the key determining factors that managers in multinational semiconductor firms use to decide upon a location to expand their business. Interviews were conducted with seventeen executives at eight companies, at both the U.S. and Japanese headquarters. Based on these interviews, the author analyzed the data to determine the strengths and weaknesses of Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture, in particular, as a semiconductor investment location. One important research finding is an assessment of these strengths and weaknesses, their importance to foreign executives, and how Kumamoto can capitalize on them in order to attract more business to the region.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Iran, Asia
  • Author: Tetsufumi Arita
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: For the past five years, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has employed an unconventional monetary easing policy, called quantitative monetary easing. Under a zero interest rate regime, the BOJ shifted its tool for monetary easing from interest rates to quantity of money, thus providing the money market with much more money than it needs. It is difficult to find evidence that this monetary easing has contributed to the current economic recovery. What we can show is that this quantitative easing diluted the functions of interest rates in the money market, with the following consequences: quantitative easing hid the risks of the huge amount of fiscal debt and supported troubled commercial banks. Hence it helped to prevent both fiscal and financial crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Henry Rowen, A. Maria Toyoda
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: How much does it matter that Japan creates relatively few new high technology companies? Many observers estimate, or at least assume, that entrepreneurial dynamism and its associated innovations promote economic growth and in the long run are necessary for it. In recent years there has been much attention devoted to fostering such new firms in many countries, including Japan, with much of this interest derived from the example of Silicon Valley. Before the 1990s, after several decades of excellent performance by the Japanese industry, any observer noting that it had few new high tech companies would probably have met with indifference. Success spoke for itself. Now, after an economic plateau lasting over a decade, questions about the late and relatively small-scale emergence of high tech startups have become increasingly salient.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Nicole Pole
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Foreign banks have long faced difficulties in attempting to enter certain Japanese financial markets. This is due partly to regulatory practices and partly to specific Japanese socioeconomic conditions, for instance the system of relationship banking. While retail banking is still a sector in which almost no foreigners have been able to succeed, some foreign financial institutions have been able to gain market share in investment and wholesale banking.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey Broadbent
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Scholars describe the East Asian—Japanese and South Korean—state as a network state that guides the private sector by means of embedded relationships (i.e., informal persuasive ties). In theoretical terms, these embedded ties represent informally institutionalized social capital. This study refines the network state thesis by comparing embedded ties with tangible resource exchanges in their effects upon political influence among political (organizational) actors in Japanese and U.S. labor politics. The network state thesis predicts that in Japan embedded ties should channel the flow of tangible resources (e.g., vital information, political support), and that embedded third party brokers should mediate this flow. Embedded ties have generally pervaded the Japanese polity, whereas in the United States, they have remained concentrated within the labor sector. In Japan, the embedded ties form a “bow tie” pattern: the Ministry of Labor (MOL) bridges a structural hole between corporatistic business and labor. The presence of embedded third parties predicts the dyadic exchange of information. Political support, by contrast, forms a distinct, nonembedded network, centered on political parties. Tensions between the embedded network and the instrumental political support network help explain characteristics of Japanese politics, such as the relative slowness of its response to financial crisis.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, East Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Akihiko Tanaka
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: It is now almost a cliché to say that domestic politics and foreign policy are closely connected. Yet however trite this expression, nonetheless it is true. Japan's international behavior and particularly its security policy cannot be fully understood without analyzing its domestic politics. In post–World War II Japan, security policy has been the dominant theme of domestic politics and source of ideological divide.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Asia, Tokyo