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2011

In December’s large protests in Moscow, demonstrators called for new voting and for Putin’s departure from power. The path to Russia’s present political tension was a long one, though, and the way forward remains quite uncertain.

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Chikako Fujita’s yearlong fellowship is reaching its conclusion. Keeping Ziqitza’s ambulances running has kept her running as well from one project to another. In this final update, she looks back on her year as an Acumen fellow, and what she has gained from the experience.

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A severe shortage of nursing homes and childcare centers could have serious economic as well social consequences for Japan. While the government is eyeing higher taxes to support increases in social spending, the author stresses the need to dismantle regulations that discourage innovation and limit business profits if Japan is to build a truly sustainable social security system.

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In the last two months of her fellowship at Ziqitza, Chikako Fujita was busily involved in keeping the company’s fast-growing operations run smoothly and efficiently. She also had an opportunity to meet some of India’s leading female entrepreneurs and to reflect on how she lived her own life.

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Few thought that COP 17 would produce miracles; the most important outcome was the abandonment of the unsustainable principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.” Far more urgent than another round of international wrangling is rapid action to develop new energy technologies that break or reduce the link between energy, economic growth, and greenhouse gas emissions.

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On December 7, 2011, Tokyo Foundation Senior Fellow Gerald Curtis was awarded the First Marshall Green Award for his contributions to Japan-US relations. In his speech at the twenty-fifth annual dinner of the Japan-America of Washington, DC, he noted that there is a pressing need to train the next generation of Japan specialists and to nurture the bilateral relationship, which rests on a foundation of mutual respect, goodwill, and core common values.

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In her previous report, Chikako Fujita pondered the effectiveness of India’s “easygoing” approach to productivity. Here, she makes fresh discoveries on what is required to ensure the success of this modus operandi.

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In announcing his decision to take part in ongoing talks for a multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership, Prime Minister Toshihiko Noda defied a wave of furious opposition, including from his own party. Although the protesters' objections sometimes bordered on the hysterical, Takaaki Asano argues that they reflect a widespread and legitimate concern that Japan is plunging head-first into economic integration without a strategy for coping with its impact.

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With the startup of the 90-vehicle ambulance operation in Punjab complete, Chikako Fujita returned to the Mumbai head office of Dial 1298. She contrasts her experience at past employers, where meticulous workflow and quality management was the rule, with the more easygoing style at Ziqitza, and finds that both can be effective.

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China's huge economy continues to expand at a high pace, but clouds are gathering on the horizon. And with Europe and the United States struggling to stave off a double-dip recession, any major Chinese slowdown over the coming months could deal a crippling blow to the global economy. How worried should we be?

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