To many of us, far-away Japan may seem like a paradise defined by fine cuisine, art and a culture that has permeated the collective consciousness. It is difficult to envision Japan as a country experiencing deeply rooted issues that could threaten its survival as a world leader and as a nation in the future. Its disciplined and stoic, albeit flexible culture has facilitated the nation’s survival and prosperity through a multitude of crises throughout history. Some examples include the Mongol invasion of the 13th century, the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853, which forced Japan to abandon its strict isolationism and deal with the Western world (1), or the catastrophic atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US in 1945.
Despite these historical hardships, Japan has succeeded in establishing itself as a major modern global power, having the third largest economy in the world, behind only the US and China (2), nations which are both larger and have much higher pop