In recent years, Japan has become a champion of free trade, a sharp reversal from decades of import restrictions, and rescued the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) after the United States pulled out of the 12-nation pact meant to bring a new era in trade and restrict Chinese influence in the region.

The economic programme dubbed 'Abenomics' saw fiscal stimulus, structural reforms, and a massive program of monetary easing that helped weaken the yen.  But critics claim Shinzo Abe's legacy is now at risk with little interest being shown in measures to open the economy further and stimulate growth.

As an advanced economy with a shrinking population, Japan does face prospects for growth that are inevitably limited, although Abe has worked to complete a long-negotiated deal with the EU, the largest-ever bilateral trade pact.

A major focus of Chatham House research is the UK-Japan Global Seminar Series which examines how the UK and Japan are both adapting to a changing world, and explores how the two countries can work together more effectively to address a number of critical challenges in common.