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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #240: July 12, 2006

Japanese Journal of Political Science

Journal Name: Japanese Journal of Political Science:
December 2005, Vol. 6, No. 3

ISSN: 1468-1099


Structure and Measurement of Life Satisfaction in Asian Countries: An Exploratory Analysis (pp287-312)
WOLFGANG JAGODZINSKI (Central Archive for Empirical Research, University of Cologne, Liliencronstraße 6, 50931 Koeln, Germany)

The relationship between specific and global measures of life satisfaction or happiness is usually seen as an asymmetric bottom-up relationship. Domain satisfaction and general satisfaction are independently measured and the typical question is whether the former has an impact on the latter or to what extent the former contributes to the latter. This paper, in contrast, investigates whether general life satisfaction can be statisti-cally derived from domain-specific satisfaction. It is suggested to conceptualize life satisfaction as a second-order factor, which is only indirectly related to observable variables. In the first part of the empirical analysis, it is shown that such a model fits the data of the first AsiaBarometer quite well. The factor models for the Asian countries under investigation are not equivalent but strikingly similar. The four first-order factors refer to satisfaction with (1) the family, (2) social status and social health, (3) economic status, and (4) collective goods. These factors load highly on a second-order factor, which is called general life satisfaction.

The results suggest the calculation of a specifically weighted factor score for each country and to base the further analyses on these scores. In the second part of the empirical investigation, it is demonstrated, however, that simple unweighted indices, which are calculated under the assumption of meaning equivalence, are very highly correlated with the country-specific factor scores. The further analysis is therefore based on an unweighted index.

In the last part of the empirical study, the reliability and validity of the life satisfaction index is examined and compared with the validity of a single indicator of overall happiness. Similar variables are used in many international surveys. Index and indicator are moderately correlated. It is shown that the life satisfaction index on average correlates higher with well-established determinants of happiness than the single item. This is particularly true for the pooled international data set, which includes the data from all participating countries. Accordingly, indices seem to be more reliable and valid measures of general life satisfaction, and may be better suited for comparative analyses at least for the countries under investigation.

Democratization as the Growth of Freedom: The Human Development Perspective (pp313-343)
CHRISTIAN WELZEL (International University Bremen (IUB)) and RONALD INGLEHART (University of Michigan)

This article examines democratization as an aspect of human development where: human development is meant to proceed as people attain greater autonomous choice in shaping their lives. Democratization promotes this process in so far as it institutionalizes freedom of choice based on civil and political liberties. This perspective allows one to integrate modernization-based explanations and civic culture-based explanations of democratization under a common theoretical umbrella. For both types of explanations reflect aspects of human development. Modernization provides human resources that increase people's capabilities to act in accordance with their autonomous choices; and the rise of a civic culture promotes liberty aspirations that increase people's emphasis on autonomous choices. Linked through their common focus on autonomous human choice, human resources and liberty aspirations provide overlapping sources of pressure for the growth of freedom. Within the limits set by the extent to which freedom is not yet present, human resources and liberty aspirations are conducive to the growth of political freedom in interchangeable ways. These hypotheses are tested against the massive wave of democratization processes that occurred from the 1980s to the 1990s, using data from 62 nations of the World Values Surveys. We find that democratization is driven by social forces that focus on the growth of autonomous human choice, reflecting human development. From this perspective, modernization-based and civic culture-based explanations of democratization are manifestations of the same theme: the expansion of autonomous human choice.

External Constraints on Female Political Participation (pp345-373)
YUKIO MAEDA (Tokyo Metropolitan University)

This article examines the gender gap in political participation in Japan. Although previous studies indicate that women may face several external constraints on political participation, this idea has not been tested systematically. Using the Japanese component of the Asia-Europe Survey, the article demonstrates that work experience and age have very different impacts on participation across the sexes. It argues that men and women encounter very different working conditions and family circumstances at certain stages of their lives, which create a gender gap in political participation.

Exploring the Low Levels of Women's Representation in Japanese Local Government (pp375-392)
CATHERINE BOCHEL and HUGH BOCHEL (Department of Policy Studies, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS)

Although women have consistently outvoted men in elections in Japan since the 1970s, the country has a relatively poor record in terms of women being elected to representative bodies. In recent years, there have been increases, particularly in the number of women in the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, but at the local level the rate of change has been slower.

As in other states, a number of propositions have been put forward to explain the low numbers of women in local assemblies. Drawing upon a variety of sources, including the developing literature and interviews with women councillors and others, this article seeks to identify the variety of factors that have contributed to holding down levels of female representation in local government in Japan. It examines these in the context of recent changes and considers the extent to which there is the prospect for further change.

Japan and the Myanmar Stalemate: Regional Power and Resolution of a Regional Problem (pp393-410)
IAN HOLLIDAY (City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

For years Myanmar has been caught in a political stalemate generated both by deadlock between the military government and the democratic opposition, and by polar differences between China and the United States. In searching for ways forward, analysts might therefore want to look beyond these dominant actors. This article considers the contribution that a regional power, Japan, could make to political change. It examines first political stalemate in Myanmar, second Japan as a regional power, third Japanese engagement with Myanmar, fourth Japan and resolution of the Myanmar problem, and fifth future possibilities. The argument is that strong historical ties and good relations inside and outside Myanmar put Japan in a pivotal position. As part of its reassurance diplomacy in East Asia, Japan should take the lead in tackling this regional problem.

Since a May 1990 general election that saw the National League for Democracy (NLD) secure a landslide victory and the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) respond by reinforcing its dictatorship, Myanmar has been in political stasis. Although progress has been made on some fronts, notably in relations between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as the military junta is now known, and the insurgent rebel armies with which it long fought civil wars, the uneasy political deadlock that settled on the country some 15 years ago has not been broken. Furthermore, within a complex internal context, the standoff between the two major protagonists from 1990 remains critical. Now, as then, the NLD, brandishing democratic legitimacy, charismatic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and latent popular support, confronts the military junta, wielding guns, power, and fear.

An Evaluation of Japan's Current Energy Policy in the Context of the Azadegan Oil Field Agreement Signed in 2004 (pp411-437)
RAQUEL SHAOUL (East Asian Studies Department, Tel-Aviv University)

In 2004, a government-backed Japanese consortium signed an agreement with the government of Iran to develop the major Azadegan oil field. Not only has the project been given the go-ahead despite numerous political obstacles and poor prospects attributed it, but the agreement also appears to be in conflict with Japan's energy policy, materializing from the mid 1980s to date. Consequently it is important to evaluate Azadegan in terms of Japan's evolving oil policy. Three alternative arguments are proposed to evaluate the quality of policy change: Japan–Iran's 'special relationship', bureaucratic factors in the energy policy-making process, and the rise of China. The conclusion emerging from this article is that the rise of China and the growing competition between Tokyo and Beijing in the Middle East and elsewhere are the primary factors in Japan's decision to conclude the Azadegan oil deal. The Azadegan case study therefore sets a new precedent for Japanese energy policy which emphasizes the political and strategic rather than economic factors leading this policy formulation.

Japanese Journal of Political Science (2005), Cambridge University Press
Copyright ©2005 Cambridge University Press

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