The latest edition of USJI Week, a program of seminars and discussion sessions hosted by the U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI), was held in Washington DC on February 22–26. The USJI is a non-profit organization jointly operated by nine Japanese universities, including Kyoto University, which promotes research to develop academically-based policy recommendations and facilitates strategic information dissemination. USJI Week is held twice a year, and is one of the main research events among the wide range of programs implemented by the organization.
Prof. Junichi Mori, Kyoto University’s vice-president for international relations and director-general of the Organization for the Promotion of International Relations (OPIR) and Prof. Yoshinori Hara of the Graduate School of Management attended the event on behalf of Kyoto University. Kyoto University organized a session as part of the USJI Weeks program titled, “Rejuvenating Japan’s Economy and Industries—Abenomics in the Long Run.” The session featured a guest speech by Mr. Glen S. Fukushima, senior fellow of the Center for American Progress.
The session focused on the “Abenomics” economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, beginning with a definition of the three “arrows” that represent the three main elements of the policies. After reviewing the effects and achievements of Abenomics, the session panelists raised questions about several issues that persist in Japanese society, including population decline and labor shortage in inverse proportion to the high costs required to support an aging society with a low birthrate. The panel discussed the need for structural reforms and strategic development of the “supply-side,” service innovation, labor market, and immigration policies.
The session audience of approximately thirty members raised a number of questions during the session. Topics included the infrastructure conditions currently needed to support the enhancement of women’s role in society, the significance of the “Cool Japan!” initiatives to disseminate Japanese culture in the international community, and new service industries targeting tourists from abroad. It was noted that such recent initiatives indicate a high level of international interest in contemporary Japanese society.
Kyoto University is an active member of the USJI, and the university’s researchers and students regularly participate in USJI programs held in the US. Information about the USJI’s activities, including USJI Week, is available in both Japanese and English from the USJI website (address below).