In 2022, Japan managed to cope with one major shock from the past, but was hit by two new ones. In spite of positive developments in its COVID-19 recovery, the Japanese economy is not in good shape. This is because of the new shocks originating from abroad — the Russian invasion of Ukraine and inflation.
At a Japan–China summit on 17 November 2022, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping met face-to-face for the first time in three years. 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of normalised diplomatic relations between Japan and China. A meeting full of smiles allowed both countries to maintain appearances and celebrate the occasion, writes Shin Kawashima from Tokyo University.
After hovering around zero growth in the late 2000s, Japan’s population has been shrinking since 2010, with the decline accelerating in recent years. Breaking its own record every year for the last 10 years, the country experienced another record population loss of 644,000 in 2020–2021. The population is projected to shrink well into the middle of this century, dropping to an estimated 88 million in 2065 — a 30 per cent decline in 45 years.
The assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has shed light on a concerning relationship between the Unification Church and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The suspected assassin, Tetsuya Yamagami, harboured a grudge against the church because of the significant donations made by his mother that left his family bankrupt.
Japan’s House of Councillors (upper house) election was held on 10 July 2022, placing 125 of the country’s 284 upper house seats up for grabs. Japanese newspapers ran headlines celebrating the record number of women who won seats. But this praise may not stand up to close scrutiny.
Until he was gunned down during a last-minute campaign stop in the western Japanese city of Nara on 8 July 2022, Shinzō Abe — Japan’s longest serving postwar leader — was a central and dominant figure in Japanese politics. Postwar Japanese history has been punctuated by spectacular instances of murder, arson and religious violence that serve as a stark reminder that parliamentary democracy has not been attained bloodlessly.
The Japanese public is not yet convinced of the need for a digital society.
The Bank of Japan must continue to improve its knowledge of blockchain technology to ensure financial stability and financial innovation in Japan.
In mid-October 2021, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet approved Japan’s Sixth Basic Energy Plan. The plan represents a concrete roadmap for realising two commitments made by former prime minister Yoshihide Suga: to decarbonise by 2050 and to achieve a 46 per cent greenhouse gas reduction (the base year is 2013) by 2030.