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Japan

Lessons For The World From A Dramatically Aging Japan

China's GDP has overtaken that of Japan. If there's one key area where Japan can still teach the Chinese, it is Japan's demographic crisis.

Four smiles in Japan
Four smiles in Japan
Daisuke Kondo

TOKYO — Last week on my 50th birthday I strolled to the coffee shop near Tokyo University where I used to spend a lot of time as a student. It's located underground with dim lighting, and plays classical music all day long, loudly. I had expected to find the shop shut long ago, but to my surprise, it's still around. The middle-aged man who used to run it is still there, now a grey-haired elderly man. I looked around, and apart from my middle-aged self, all the other customers were old men.

There, I listened to Schubert's impromptus that I used to listen to 30 years back, which remind me very much of the first half of my life. I realize that I haven't changed much. I used to drink coffee, read and write. I liked listening to classical music and play piano. Over the years, all those daily habits remain, which is perhaps why I rarely notice the passage of time. It's probable that most Japanese people feel the same. Tokyo has stayed nearly unchanged in the past decades. Meanwhile, over the last 30 years, the "other" country I have called home over the years, China, has been through enormous changes. Tokyo experienced its own drastic changes during the 30 years after World War II. The shopping centers, office blocks and subways built at that time are still being used today.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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