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For all the talk about the importance of think tanks and the expansion of civil society as an alternative to the official bureaucracy in Japan over the past two and a half decades, Japan’s think tanks leave much to be desired. Indeed, they are dead in the water.

According to the Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, published annually by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Project, only one Japanese think tank was among the “Best Independent Think Tanks” worldwide, and this for a country that until less than a decade ago had the second largest economy in the world. Other categories in the most recent survey were equally dismal.

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