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for renewables, Japan is devoid of domestic energy sources. Since its nuclear
power sector has been reduced to only a minor contributor in the energy mix,
the country has had no choice but to increase its imports of hydrocarbons and fall
back on its societal and technological strengths to tackle the energy-security challenge
in the long term.
Gender equality is not
one of Japan’s greatest strengths, but the rapid shrinking and aging of the
population have started to exert pressure on a society whose culture is drawn
from the samurai era. These values practically exclude young mothers from the
workforce and set a very low glass ceiling for professional women.
threat posed to international security by North Korea’s nuclear posturing will
not be resolved in a flashy manner – neither by an American military strike at Pyongyang’s
arsenal nor by Chinese economic pressure on its rogue ally. Instead, expect
three Far East nations – China, Japan and South Korea – to quietly adopt a
“managed crisis” approach, combining painstaking diplomacy with small-step
measures to build stability.
As China emerges as East Asia’s dominant power and the
unpredictable North Korean regime acquires offensive nuclear capability, nearby
Japan is taking further steps to relax its constitutional ban on maintaining
armed forces. Amending the constitution may not yet be in the cards, but beefing
up the country’s arms industry has already started.
President Vladimir Putin’s hopes and ambitions to see Russia return to take its place among the leading industrialised nations are fading fast as the country heads for recession. ‘Hard decisions’ need to be taken to rein in its spending and cut budgets, according to his Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Russia is at a crossroads and it is the global price of oil wh...
Professor Stefan Hedlund