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Japan's Parliament and other political institutions

15-12-2020

Japan is a constitutional monarchy, with a parliamentary system of government based on the separation of powers. The Emperor is the symbol of the state and does not hold political functions, only performing ceremonial duties. Nevertheless, he can play a relevant diplomatic role. With Emperor Naruhito's enthronement in 2019, following his father's abdication, Japan has entered the Reiwa (beautiful harmony) age. The 2001 administrative reform strengthened the Prime Minister's leadership in the cabinet ...

Japan is a constitutional monarchy, with a parliamentary system of government based on the separation of powers. The Emperor is the symbol of the state and does not hold political functions, only performing ceremonial duties. Nevertheless, he can play a relevant diplomatic role. With Emperor Naruhito's enthronement in 2019, following his father's abdication, Japan has entered the Reiwa (beautiful harmony) age. The 2001 administrative reform strengthened the Prime Minister's leadership in the cabinet. The Chief Cabinet Secretary also plays a relevant role. Suga Yoshihide, leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party, is the country's Prime Minister, succeeding Abe Shinzō, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, in 2020. The Supreme Court is at the top of the judicial system. It is not a constitutional court, despite handling appeals arising from actual disputes. The appointment of its Justices is reviewed by the people at the first general election of the Lower House following their appointment. Japan is a unitary state divided into 47 prefectures. A Metropolitan Government administers the capital, Tokyo. Japan's 1947 Constitution recognises 'local self-government.' Local governments carry out many of the national policies and programmes. They have limited autonomy, also because of their dependence on financial resources from the central government. Japan has a bicameral parliament − the Diet. Although the two chambers share legislative powers, the Lower House (House of Representatives) prevails in the legislative process and is empowered to adopt the final decision on the budget and on the approval of international treaties. Changes in the regional geopolitical environment and in the country's demographic structure have prompted debates on issues such as the revision of the 'pacifist' Article 9 of the Constitution and the seat distribution among electoral constituencies. This is an update of a briefing published in June 2020.

Japan's ageing society

15-12-2020

Japan is aging fast. Its 'super-aged' society is the oldest in the world: 28.7 % of the population are 65 or older, with women forming the majority. The country is also home to a record 80 000 centenarians. By 2036, people aged 65 and over will represent a third of the population. Since 2011, the Japanese population has also been shrinking: it is a rare case of large country whose overall population is becoming smaller in prosperous and peaceful times. Japan's population is expected to drop from ...

Japan is aging fast. Its 'super-aged' society is the oldest in the world: 28.7 % of the population are 65 or older, with women forming the majority. The country is also home to a record 80 000 centenarians. By 2036, people aged 65 and over will represent a third of the population. Since 2011, the Japanese population has also been shrinking: it is a rare case of large country whose overall population is becoming smaller in prosperous and peaceful times. Japan's population is expected to drop from 127 million in 2015 to 88 million by 2065. Japan's demographic crisis is the consequence of the combination of two elements: a high life expectancy and a low fertility rate. In 2018, Japan had the second highest life expectancy in the world. Meanwhile, since the 1970s the country has failed to raise its fertility rate to the replacement level. The working culture, a deterioration of employment opportunities for young men and the traditional gender division of labour are possible explanations for this trend. The consequences of the country's aging and shrinking population include economic crisis, budgetary challenges, pressure on job markets and depopulation of rural areas. The silver economy is meanwhile flourishing and Japan is at the forefront of robot development to face a declining labour force and to take care of its elderly. The government's efforts to address the demographic crisis have yet to succeed however, and immigration has been limited. Tokyo is engaged in global health cooperation and succeeded in incorporating the concept of human security in the sustainable development goals. It has also been active in international cooperation on ageing, with a focus on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. The EU's own ageing society is not far behind Japan. It could benefit from learning from Japan's experience, and cooperating on all aspects relating to demographic challenges, including on 'agetech': technology making comfortable longevity accessible to all.

New plant-breeding techniques: Applicability of EU GMO rules

13-11-2020

New plant genetic modification techniques, referred to as 'gene editing' or 'genome editing', have evolved rapidly in recent years, allowing much faster and more precise results than conventional plant-breeding techniques. They are seen as a promising innovative field for the agri-food industry, offering great technical potential. Consumers could benefit from enhanced nutritional quality or reduced allergenicity of food, for example, such as gluten-reduced wheat. There is, however, considerable debate ...

New plant genetic modification techniques, referred to as 'gene editing' or 'genome editing', have evolved rapidly in recent years, allowing much faster and more precise results than conventional plant-breeding techniques. They are seen as a promising innovative field for the agri-food industry, offering great technical potential. Consumers could benefit from enhanced nutritional quality or reduced allergenicity of food, for example, such as gluten-reduced wheat. There is, however, considerable debate as to how these new techniques should be regulated, and whether some or all of them should fall within the scope of EU legislation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Those who take the view that the new techniques should be exempt from GMO legislation generally argue that the end product is very similar to products generated using conventional breeding techniques, or that similar changes could also occur naturally. Those who consider that the new techniques should fall within the scope of GMO legislation contend that the processes used mean that plants bred using the new techniques are in fact genetically modified. In July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that genome-edited organisms fall under the scope of European GMO legislation. While welcomed by some, the judgment also sparked criticism and calls for the new European Commission to amend EU GMO legislation. In November 2019, the Council requested that the Commission submit a study in light of the Court of Justice judgment regarding the status of novel genomic techniques (NGTs), by 30 April 2021. This is an updated edition of an October 2019 Briefing.

How Can the European Parliament Better Oversee the European Central Bank?

30-09-2020

This paper assesses how the European Parliament (EP) holds the European Central Bank (ECB) accountable. The same exercise is done for the Bank of Japan, in order to identify possible lessons for the ECB and the EP. Possible improvements to the ECB accountability framework include procedural changes to the Monetary Dialogue to increase its effectiveness, the release of detailed minutes and votes from ECB governing council meetings, and the establishment of a ranking by the EU legislators of the ECB ...

This paper assesses how the European Parliament (EP) holds the European Central Bank (ECB) accountable. The same exercise is done for the Bank of Japan, in order to identify possible lessons for the ECB and the EP. Possible improvements to the ECB accountability framework include procedural changes to the Monetary Dialogue to increase its effectiveness, the release of detailed minutes and votes from ECB governing council meetings, and the establishment of a ranking by the EU legislators of the ECB’s secondary objectives. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

Yes, We Are Probably All Japanese Now

16-09-2019

This paper argues that the euro area has in recent years shared the same unfortunate concurrent systemic economic/financial crisis and demographic turnaround to an outright declining working age population that Japan suffered in the early 1990s. This combination will continue to depress euro area inflation dynamics for the foreseeable future, making it imperative that new fiscal policy initiatives, including public climate related investments, complement the ECB’s ongoing monetary policy stimulus ...

This paper argues that the euro area has in recent years shared the same unfortunate concurrent systemic economic/financial crisis and demographic turnaround to an outright declining working age population that Japan suffered in the early 1990s. This combination will continue to depress euro area inflation dynamics for the foreseeable future, making it imperative that new fiscal policy initiatives, including public climate related investments, complement the ECB’s ongoing monetary policy stimulus.

Външен автор

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard

International Agreements in Progress: Bilateral trade deal with Japan – largest to date for EU

01-02-2019

Following the signature of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in July 2018, and the conclusion of the ratification procedures by both partners at the end of 2018, the agreement entered into force on 1 February 2019. The agreement is the EU's largest bilateral trade agreement to date. It establishes a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers, accounting for roughly a third of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). The European Commission's analysis of ...

Following the signature of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in July 2018, and the conclusion of the ratification procedures by both partners at the end of 2018, the agreement entered into force on 1 February 2019. The agreement is the EU's largest bilateral trade agreement to date. It establishes a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers, accounting for roughly a third of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). The European Commission's analysis of the economic impact of the agreement, published in June 2018, indicated that the EU's GDP could rise by approximately 0.14 %, and EU exports to Japan by around €13 billion by the time the EPA is fully implemented in 2035. The agreement will provide for significant economic opportunities for sectors such as agri-food and textiles, and it is predicted that no EU sector will be impacted by noticeable losses. In addition to exploiting the untapped potential of bilateral trade and strengthening the EU's economic presence in the Asia-Pacific region, the EPA, together with the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), will provide a platform for stronger relations between the EU and Japan. The agreement also conveys a strong message on the parties' commitment to promoting a free and fair trading system and to rejecting trade protectionism.

International Agreements in Progress: The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) - A framework to promote shared values

22-01-2019

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive ...

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive contributor for peace'. In order to enhance their relations, in July 2018 the EU and Japan signed a binding Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – to come into force following ratfication by all Member States – along with an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), negotiated in parallel. The SPA represents a framework strengthening the overall partnership, by promoting political and sectoral cooperation and joint actions in more than 40 areas of common interest. Once in force, the EU-Japan strategic partnership will become more operational. The agreement will facilitate joint EU-Japan efforts to promote shared values such as human rights and rule of law, a rules-based international system, and peace and stability across the world. It will allow EU-Japan security cooperation to reach its full potential. Second edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, December 2018

14-12-2018

The December plenary session was marked by the terrorist attack that took place in Strasbourg on 11 December. Members had that very day debated the report of Parliament's Special Committee on Terrorism, concluding its year's work. The December plenary session also featured debates on the preparations for the same week's European Council and Euro Summit meetings, as well as on the future of Europe, with Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus. Parliament awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize for freedom ...

The December plenary session was marked by the terrorist attack that took place in Strasbourg on 11 December. Members had that very day debated the report of Parliament's Special Committee on Terrorism, concluding its year's work. The December plenary session also featured debates on the preparations for the same week's European Council and Euro Summit meetings, as well as on the future of Europe, with Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus. Parliament awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought to the imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker, Oleg Sentsov, and adopted a report on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Parliament adopted the EU's 2019 budget, and held debates and voted on proposals on a digital services tax; risk assessment in the food chain; risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work; revision of the statutes of three EU agencies; as well as an own initiative legislative report on expedited settlement of commercial disputes. Finally, Parliament adopted positions on seven of the three dozen proposed funding programmes for the 2021-2027 period, enabling negotiations with the Council to be launched.

EU and Japan seek to boost their relations

05-12-2018

The EU and Japan have given a strong signal in favour of free trade and their shared commitment to fundamental values and principles. In July 2018, they signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The two agreements now need the European Parliament's consent for their conclusion.

The EU and Japan have given a strong signal in favour of free trade and their shared commitment to fundamental values and principles. In July 2018, they signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The two agreements now need the European Parliament's consent for their conclusion.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - November 2018

12-11-2018

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.