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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #182: Januray 14, 2005

Social Science Japan Journal

Journal Name: Social Science Japan Journal: October 2004, Vol. 7, No. 2

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

General Papers:

Beached Whales: Examining Japan's Rejection of an International Norm (pp177-197)
Keiko Hirata (Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine.)
Much of the analysis of international norms has focused on norm diffusion at the systemic level. This study argues that such analyses based on neo-realism, neo-liberal institutionalism, and constructivism have two major shortcomings. One is that they pay much attention to successful cases of norm diffusion, but neglect failed ones. The other is that they fail to examine the linkage between international norms and domestic structures in the processes of norm diffusion. By neglecting this linkage, systemic-level studies cannot clarify specific mechanisms and process through which international norms reach the domestic arena. This study stresses that domestic structures, in particular cultural and political structures, are the key factors allowing international norm diffusion at the domestic level. Analyzing Japan's refusal to accept an anti-whaling norm, this paper argues that these domestic structures have served as filters to block the emergence and acceptance of this norm in Japan.

Unemployment Policy in Prewar Japan: How Progressive Was Japanese Social Policy? (pp199-221)
Kazutoshi Kase (Professor specializing in the economic history of modern Japan at the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo.)
Most authorities have for a long time judged social policy for the poor in prewar Japan to have been backward but, since about the 1980s, scholars have begun to conclude that Japanese social policy was as progressive as that in Western countries. They argue that Japanese prewar social policy was not only more progressive, but was implemented earlier, especially construction relief works for the unemployed and poor farmers. This paper examines Japan's unemployment policy in the 1920s and 1930s with the aim of understanding the effectiveness of government public works policy. My research reveals that not only did public construction relief works for the unemployed not increase the total number of employed workers, but that Japan's unemployment benefit policy was realized only through minor benefits provided by large companies as a result of the absence of any kind of state-run unemployment insurance or assistance programmes.

Gender and Political Behaviour in Japan (pp223-244)
Gill Steel (Research Fellow on the Center of Excellence Project, the Invention of Policy Systems in Advanced Countries, in the Graduate School of Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo.)
Although the literature on Japanese women's political behaviour is growing, no comprehensive account yet exists. To contribute to this body of research, this paper surveys aspects of Japanese women's electoral behaviour and interest in elections during the last 30 years. In contrast to some commentators, I argue, first, that much similarity exists between women's and men's political behaviour and, second, that women are not uninvolved in or uninterested in politics. Using data from the Society for the Promotion of Clean Elections Lower House Election Surveys (Akarui Senkyo Suishin Kyokai Shugiin Giin Sosenky or ASSK), I analyse the levels and determinants of citizens' interest in elections, non-alignment, voting rates and membership in koenkai (the personal support groups of candidates and politicians).

Explaining Central Bank Reform in Japan (pp245-262)
Jennifer Holt Dwyer (Assistant Professor of Political Science at Hunter College, City University of New York.)
In 1997, the Japanese government revised the Bank of Japan Law, joining a cross-national trend towards increased central bank independence and transparency. This paper argues that the new law was significantly informed by political incentives created by an impending electoral crisis and policy constraints imposed by international financial market developments. After reviewing several alternative explanations for central bank reform, the paper proposes that the governing parties' strategic efforts to use central bank reform as a means to re-establish their domestic and international credibility best explains both the timing and the content of the new law. Given the domestic political and economic circumstances since revision, however, it is not surprising that, while the new law immediately increased the Bank of Japan's formal independence and transparency, it did not simultaneously increase the central bank's policy effectiveness or credibility.

Survey Articles:

The Public Man and the Public World in Modern Japan: Nanbara Shigeru and Hasegawa Nyozekan Revisited (pp263-275)
Andrew E. Barshay teaches modern Japanese history at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also chair of the Center for Japanese Studies.
This essay treats two related issues in the intellectual history of modern Japan: first that of fascism, and second that of the public sphere. The principal vehicle for these considerations is a revisitation by the author of his own earlier work on the 'public man' in State and Intellectual in Imperial Japan (1988). Building upon critical responses to that work and a number of recent treatments of these two major themes, the author suggests a possible new interpretative framework for fascism, and goes on to explore the paradox of 'insider resistance, outsider conformity' in somewhat greater depth than in his original work. The essay concludes with some observations on the relevance of the categories of the 'public' and 'public man' to the discussion of the intellectual underpinnings of Japanese democracy.

Social Science Japan Journal (2004)
Copyright©2004 by the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Tokyo.

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