Despite the stagnation that affected it following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Japan remains a major player in the Asia-Pacific and on the international scene.
Economically, Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world, ranking 3rd in terms of nominal GDP size. Its economy is advanced and sustained by an effective education system, and it counts many firms of international scope and who are on the edge of technological innovation. Moreover, the yen remains an internationally-traded currency included in the IMF reserve basket, the Special Drawing Rights. Its economic prosperity is but one of the main tools that Japan uses in its foreign policy, notably in the form of ODA (Official Development Assistance); and it also allows the country to gain international influence by being one of the top contributors to the UN budget. Still, growth has greatly slowed down in the recent decades, and the country experienced a protracted period of stagflation from which it has recovered only recently. The two main preminent problems in the economic domain are competition from abroad and most of all its huge national debt, which reached a record of 234.7% of GDP in 2016.
In political terms, Japan is a democratic system Having lost WWII, it has a pacifist Constitution, that (in the current interpretation) does not allow it to possess proper armed forces and permits it to exert collctive self-defense only under limited and specific conditions. The Constitutional reinterpretation approved by Abe's government in 2014 has been the cause of protests, and has also concerned Japan's neighbors (notably China) who fear a revival of Japanese militarism and expansionism; even though this appears a remote possibility, since strong legal restrains persit and because the population is largely opposed to similar changes. Still, this modification of the longstanding stance accompanied by the spread of nationalist movements and by the economic troubles of the recent years have resulted into some degree of socio-political turmoil; even though Japan enjoys an overall good level of social stability.