Here are some graphs comparing countries on different issues:
Trust and Community Life
Rich and Poor Countries
The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, a book published by Penguin in March 2009.
For example, Sweden gets its greater equality through redistribution, through taxes and benefits, and public services provided by a big state. In contrast, Japan has a greater equality of "market incomes", before redistribution. Differences in Japanese earnings are smaller even before taxes and benefits. While Sweden has a large state and well developed public services, in Japan government social expenditure makes up an unusually small part (compared to other OECD countries) of its Gross National Income. The same contrast exists among US states - even between neighbouring states like Vermont and New Hampshire. Vermont takes the big government route and New Hampshire the small. But despite the contrast in how greater equality is achieved, Sweden, Japan, Vermont and New Hampshire all enjoy good health, lower rates of most social problems - i.e. all the benefits of greater equality.
Considering environmental issues, I have a lot of opinions and it is not a simple matter to compare the ecological footprint of 9 million Swedes to 120 million Japanese. Both Sweden and Japan are heavily depending on imported fossile fuels and nuclear power for energy. Sweden could rely more on wind power, while solar is clearly a better option for Japan.
Last year, Jiji Press talked about "Love of Nature as Part of National Identity" and asked for views from ISEP in Tokyo:
"Sweden shows us a glimpse of one step ahead into the future," Tetsunari Iida, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, a Tokyo-based independent organization, says. "Despite differences in politics, culture and society, there are many things that Japan and the whole world can learn from Sweden."
Jiji Press: Sweden Offers Glimpse of Sustainable Future