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Utrikespolitiska föreningen in Swedish


Two birds, One Stone: Easing Immigration to Japan 

Long lines in front of the immigration office consist mainly of tourists. Photo by: J Chou, FlickrJapan is the world’s third largest economy accounting for over 9 percent of the world’s economy in 2012. However, Japan is confronting a stagnant economy and an aging population that could cast a shadow on its future development. In the wake of this urgent and ongoing agenda, Japan’s current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, referred to immigration as a solution to this issue in the Japanese Diet on 13 February, 2014. But until now, immigration has not been a familiar topic to Japan and its people. The ratio of immigrants to Japanese is very close to zero—it is the second lowest, next to Mexico, among OECD countries, primarily because the government strictly controls immigration. If Japan does shift its strict immigration policies, what would the consequences be for Japan and its immigrants? What are the obstacles to this transformation?

By Hiroaki Goto

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The Dementia Time Bomb

The Human Brain: dangerously susceptible to the effects of degenerative cognitive symptoms. Source: J E Theriot, Flickr There is no doubt that people are living longer lives, and even in recent years the global life expectancy has continued to increase; between 1990 and 2011 life expectancy for both sexes has climbed from 64 years to 70 years. This is a pattern seen across the world with the majority of nations seeing an increase in life expectancy. However, this spike in life expectancy has some less happy ramifications. The most acute of these is a spike in diseases associated with old age particularly in neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.

By Alan Cartwright

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Fair Trade and Poverty: Not Quite a Panacea?  

Fair Trade. Source: Antony Theobald, FlickrConsumers' choices make the world go round as they influence the decisions of influential multinational companies and international politics. This process is constantly reinforced by the effects of globalization, with decreasing transportation costs and the continued facilitation of communication. These processes led to a system in which the production chain is often not transparent to the consumers anymore. The label in the clothes does not suffice to explain the origin of a product in our times. As economist Petra Rivoli explains in her book “The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy”, published in 2009, “Made In China” is really only half of the truth. Where has that led us?

By Yannick Schwarz

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A Polio Free World? 

A polio vaccination team immunizes children in the Kamla Nehru Nagar slum in Patna. Source: Gates Foundation, FlickrIn January 2014 it was reported that India had become polio free, marking three years since its last reported case. This is a major success not only for India but also for global eradication efforts. The World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988, when the poliovirus was endemic in 125 countries and when approximately 350,000 people were paralysed each year due to the disease. The Gates Foundation has been a key player in supporting the WHO initiative and in pushing forward global eradication efforts. Since GPEI began, it has saved about 10 million children from paralysis, and now there are only three countries where polio remains endemic: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The success of GPEI is evident in these numbers, and the route to this success is interesting in relation to other global development efforts. But in the three remaining endemic countries, there is a political and social battle being fought through polio eradication efforts: Vaccination workers are being attacked by Islamic militants who oppose the Westernisation of their countries. 

By Kate O Donnell

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Football: more than just a game? 

Ultra graffiti. by Aslan Media, FlickrWatching 11 people chasing a ball for 90 minutes might not seem like something of great political importance, but if you thought football was just fun and games then think again! Football fans are a political force to be reckoned with. They have been at the frontline of the revolutions during the Arab spring, as well as standing at the barricades in both Turkey and Ukraine.

by Lotta Herz

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