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Background: The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; the islands were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence after Japan's surrender, but it required four years of intermittent negotiations, recurring hostilities, and UN mediation before the Netherlands agreed to relinquish its colony. Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic state. Current issues include: alleviating widespread poverty, preventing terrorism, continuing the transition to popularly-elected governments after four decades of authoritarianism, implementing reforms of the banking sector, addressing charges of cronyism and corruption, and holding the military and police accountable for human rights violations. Indonesia has been dealing with armed separatist movements in Aceh and in Papua.



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