You are now entering contested territory. The nature of contemporary Japan is hotly debated by specialists and observers, both inside and outside Japan. Whether the topic is Japan’s domestic politics, international relations or economic order, apparently simple questions such as ‘Is Japan a liberal democracy?’, ‘Is Japan a superpower?’, or ‘Does Japan have a free market economy?’ will provoke radically different answers from different scholars and analysts. Facts about Japan are often buried under different interpretations and perspectives. When reading books or articles about contemporary Japan, we need to be constantly alert to the biases and preferences of their authors. This book starts from the assumption that in order to understand much about contemporary Japan, we need to understand the alternative perspectives to be found in the literature on Japan.
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