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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #96: April 30, 2003

Social Science Japan Journal

Journal Name: Social Science Japan Journal: April 2002, Vol. 5, No. 1

Print ISSN: 1369-1465, Online ISSN: 1468-2680

General Articles:

New Views on Disabilities and the Challenge to Social Welfare in Japan (pp 1-15)
Yoda Hiroe (Associate professor at Osaka City University)
Problems concerning people with disabilities in Japan characteristically manifest themselves as problems affecting not only the disabled people themselves, but also their mothers. My research indicates that this stems from the fact that social welfare in Japan: (a) lacks an encompassing vision; (b) views people with disabilities negatively, using the so-called ‘medical model' that equates disabilities with disease; and (c) embraces a paradigm in which the family is seen as the primary care-giver and state welfare is seen as having a merely supplemental role. The continuing stress on the family as primary provider of support and care has reduced the issue of disability to a family matter in the eyes of the state. Consequently, questions are seldom raised about the quality of life of people with disabilities who live with their families. This paper discusses challenges to contemporary policies on disabilities, with a view to identifying what needs to be done to enable people with disabilities to live independently, as citizens in their local community.

Resistance and Co-optation: the Japanese Federation of the Deaf and its Relations with State Power (pp 17-35)
Karen Nakamura (Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, USA)
The main organization of the deaf in Japan has not only been able to work within a civil law environment designed largely to promote the interests of the state and quell social protest, but has been able to succeed in manipulating the system to its own benefit. It has shown remarkable organizational flexibility by subdividing in an amoeba-like fashion to avoid political control. This paper engages questions of power and resistance in the civil society framework of Japan.

The Paths to Difference: Social and Economic Choices in Three Post-war Agrarian Settlements of North-eastern Japan (pp 37-53)
Davide Torsello (The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle (Germany), working on postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe)
In 1946, among the main post-war social and economic recovery measures, the occupied Japanese government and the Allied leadership undertook a far-reaching Land Reclamation Policy. The aim of this paper is to analyse the social and economic features of three new villages created under the policy in Aomori prefecture. I should like to frame the data collected through fieldwork in the communities within a historical perspective covering over fifty years of these communities' history. In a region such as Aomori, where rice farming has been an option practicable only since modern times and orchards have provided viable agricultural options since the beginning of the twentieth century, implementation of the Land Reclamation Policy generated valuable outcomes. Diversification of agriculture, improvement of farming techniques and the creation of a dense web of production co-operatives are only some of the most significant results that over 25 years of policy operations produced at ground level. Meanwhile, the strategies of the settlers to cope with periods of profound social and economic change, and their choices at household and local level, illuminate an important portion of Japan's post-war history.

A Lost Tradition: Nishida Kitar , Henri Bergson and Intuition in Political Philosophy (pp 55-70)
Christopher S. Jones (Director of the Centre for Asia–Pacific Studies and Lecturer in Politics and International Relations of East Asia at the University of Kent at Canterbury)
Mainstream political theory under-privileges intuitive approaches to philosophy because of a mistaken belief that such approaches are either intellectually inferior or inherently dangerous. In fact, a rigorous and sophisticated tradition of intuitive philosophy developed at the beginning of the twentieth century both in Japan and in Europe. To some extent, this tradition evolved as the result of increasing contact between European and Japanese thinkers during this period. Unfortunately, the co-option of this tradition by ultra-nationalist regimes in Japan and Germany during the 1930s and 1940s created a historical legacy that the concept of intuition has found hard to shake. In today's post-Cold War world, with growing international awareness of cultural and political difference, especially in Asia, there is both the space and the need for the reconsideration of alternatives to the universalizing rationalist paradigm that dominates Euro-American political theory. The intuitive tradition provides a fresh and compelling argument for cultural relativism in international politics and a parsimonious structure for critical theories of international relations.

Survey Articles:

Judicial Reform in Japan in the 1990s: Increase of the Legal Profession, Reinforcement of Judicial Functions and Expansion of the Rule of Law (pp 71-83)
Sato Iwao (Associate Professor of Sociology of Law at the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo)
Judicial reform is one of the most important items on the political agenda in Japan today. Its main purpose is to expand the legal population drastically and to strengthen the social function of the judicial system in Japan. Japan has long been described as a society in which people do not need to resort to the judiciary, a ‘non-litigious society'. In such a society, why should there now be attempts to change the judicial system to strengthen the judicial function? This paper makes a brief sketch of the socio-political background and the discussion of judicial reform in Japan in the 1990s. In conclusion, it is pointed out that the judicial reform may enhance the rule of law in Japanese society, though the future course of the reform process is still uncertain.

Evaluation of Party Leaders and Voting Behaviour—an Analysis of the 2000 General Election (pp 85-96)
Kabashima Ikuo and Imai Ryosuke (Professor of political science at the University of Tokyo whose research interests cover Japanese politics in comparative perspective Graduate student at the Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo)
This paper examines the impact that the Japanese electorate's negative evaluation of Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro had on its voting behaviour in the 2000 General Election. This study uses an eight-wave panel survey covering the period from 1993 to 2000. The last survey, which was used most, was conducted through the mail immediately after the 2000 General Election. It was found that party leader evaluation did in fact affect voting behaviour, with voting in proportional representation districts affected more significantly than voting in single-member districts. We also examined how party leader evaluation affected split voting between proportional and single-member districts, and found that negative party leader evaluation was a major cause of split voting. Finally, it was found that the evaluation of Prime Minister Mori himself was affected most significantly by a series of problematic speeches Mori made in the run-up to the election.

Social Science Japan Journal (2002)
Copyright ©2002 Oxford University Press

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