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comparative politics international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS #19 “Framing the Conversation: the US Military and Anti-US-Military Activism in Japan”

The nineteenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on August 5, 2021. Amy Catalinac (New York University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Charmaine Willis (University at Albany, SUNY) presented her paper, “Framing the Conversation: the US Military and Anti-US-Military Activism in Japan.” During her presentation, Willis outlined puzzling variation in public opposition to hosting US military bases in Japan. Previous studies of this topic have not explained why there have been many protests against US bases in Okinawa but few in mainland Japan. Focused on explaining this disparity, Willis seeks to discern why the US bases in Okinawa have elicited more protest than the bases on the Japanese mainland through a mixed-method analysis that employs an original protest event dataset, interviews, and primary documents. Based on a comparison of public reactions to US bases in Okinawa and the Tokyo metropolitan area, she argues that the difference is primarily rooted in divergent protest framing and discursive opportunity structures. Willis finds that public opposition to US bases in Okinawa is based on its history of marginalization and the higher visibility of American forces.

Discussant comments were offered by Yoshiaki Kubo (Indiana University Bloomington; University of the Ryukyus) and Andrew Yeo (Catholic University of America). Participants discussed the politics of hosting US forces in Japan and in other US-aligned countries. Moreover, discussants offered useful comments on how foreign and domestic policy can intersect to create specific political dynamics as in the case of Okinawa.

This event attracted several participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/

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comparative politics international relations

JPOSS #18 “The Failed Reconciliation between North Korea and Japan”

The eighteenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on July 15, 2021. Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Cana Kim (Louisiana State University) presented her paper, “The Failed Reconciliation between North Korea and Japan.” In her presentation, Kim articulated her research exploring why repeated diplomatic attempts to normalize relations between Japan and North Korea have failed–an empirical puzzle that existing theories of interstate negotiation cannot fully account for. Drawing on insights from qualitative analysis, Kim applies theories from the political science literature on reconciling historical grievances to show how shifting Japanese public opinion on North Korea due to increased politicization of the abduction of Japanese citizens and North Korean attempts to developed nuclear weapons increased threat perception in the early 2000s among Japanese political elites and the public. Consequently, as Kim explains, normalization between Japan and North Korea became very difficult.

Discussant comments were offered by Thomas Berger (Boston University) and Yinan He (Lehigh University). The discussion raised salient and intriguing questions about the prospect for reconciliation between Japan and many of its East Asian neighbors including but not limited to North Korea. Furthermore, discussants offered useful comments on how to think about the process of reconciliation between states with a hitherto adversarial relationship as well as what this would look like in democratic and authoritarian regimes.

This event attracted several participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/

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comparative politics international relations

JPOSS #17 “Global Value Chains and Domestic Politics Response to Trade: China, Japan, and the United States Compared”

The seventeenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on June 24, 2021. Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Hiroki Takeuchi (Southern Methodist University) presented his paper, “Global Value Chains and Domestic Politics Response to Trade: China, Japan, and the United States Compared.” In his presentation, Takeuchi discussed his research on the politics of trade in the three largest economies (the US, China, and Japan) with a focus on how each has responded to the rise of Global Value Chains (GVCs) characterized by multi-stage manufacturing in which various stages of production occur in different countries. This topic has profound implications for the politics of international trade because GVCs challenge conventional rules governing international trade and in many cases have fundamentally altered manufacturing in some cases triggering public backlashes against international trade. Of particular interest was the way in which Takeuchi articulated how GVCs have altered the ways in which states make rules on international trade and commit to controversial domestic reforms such as pressures on China to change the way state-owned enterprises (SOEs) function.

Discussant comments were offered by Patricia Maclachlan (University of Texas at Austin) and Ka Zeng (University of Arkansas). The discussion raised interesting questions about the politics of trade in Japan and other developed countries as well as the ability of the US to re-emerge on as a world leader on trade policy. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to thematic focus, research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted close to thirty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/

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comparative politics international relations

JPOSS #16 “Taking Gains from Trade (More) Seriously: The Effects of Consumer Perspective on Free Trade in Contemporary Japan”

The sixteenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on June 10, 2021. Christina L. Davis (Harvard University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Yu Jin Woo (Waseda University) presented her paper with Ikuo Kume (Waseda University), “Taking Gains from Trade (More) Seriously: The Effects of Consumer Perspective on Free Trade in Contemporary Japan.” In her presentation, Woo explained her collaborative research exploring why the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was able to consistently pursue negotiations to establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations without losing public support, an important question that has implications for how political scientists understand the politics of international trade. Existing studies have commonly assumed that citizens form policy preferences on trade liberalization by thinking of themselves as producers based on their specific or general skill level or employment concerns. Woo and Kume challenge this conventional approach by recognizing that economic preferences are shaped by the way in which individuals view themselves as producers and consumers. Drawing on analysis from a survey experiment, they find that the LDP enjoyed sustained public support due to increasing sensitivity to the costs of consumer goods, which is especially strong among LDP supporters.

Discussant comments were offered by Eddie Hearn (Musashi University) and Soo Yeon Kim (National University of Singapore). The discussion raised interesting questions about the politics of trade in Japan and other developed countries. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted over thirty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/

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comparative politics international relations

JPOSS #15 “Elderly Identity and Trade Policy Preferences in an Aging Society: Evidence from Japan”

The fifteenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on May 27, 2021. Amy Catalinac (New York University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Yesola Kweon (Utah State University) presented her paper, “Elderly Identity and Trade Policy Preferences in an Aging Society: Evidence from Japan.” In her presentation, Kweon discussed her research on an understudied topic within political science and the social sciences more broadly, the policy preferences of older citizens. Existing studies assume that senior citizens are favorable toward trade as they assess the topic only as consumers who stand to benefit from more affordable imported goods. Kweon challenges this assumption using analysis from a survey experiment conducted in Japan, an aging society. Her study finds that in aged regions where elderly poverty is a more pressing issue, senior citizens are more likely to oppose trade and implies that assumptions within existing studies of trade politics about how age influences policy preferences should be re-examined.

Discussant comments were offered by Andy Baker (University of Colorado Boulder) and Megumi Naoi (University of California, San Diego). The discussion raised interesting questions about the politics of trade, socio-economic inequality and dislocation as well as the distribution of social welfare in developed countries with ageing populations including but not limited to Japan. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted many participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/

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comparative politics

JPOSS #14 “Shut Down Schools, Knock Down the Virus?”

The fourteenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on May 13, 2021. Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Kentaro Fukumoto (Gakushuin University), Charles T. McCLean (Harvard University), and Kuninori Nakagawa (Shizuoka University) presented their paper, “Shut Down Schools, Knock Down the Virus? No Causal Effect of School Closures on the Spread of COVID-19.” In their presentation, Fukumoto and colleagues explored whether school closures actually reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a highly relevant policy question that previous studies have yet to resolve. Fukumoto, McClean, and Nakagawa approach this question using matching methods to compare Japanese municipalities which imposed school closures in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic against those which kept local schools open. Surprisingly, Fukumoto and colleagues find that school closures did not reduce local infection rates. Their results suggest that policies on school closures should be reexamined given the potential negative consequences for children and parents.

Discussant comments were offered by Kenneth Mori McElwain (University of Tokyo) and Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College). The discussion raised interesting questions about the efficacy of policy responses to COVID-19 as well as research methods. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted many participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/

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comparative politics Japan-related research

JPOSS #13 “Selecting Legal Residents by Unemployment and Ethnicity in the Liberal Democratic State to ‘Control Unwanted Immigration’: Remigration in The Netherlands and Japan 1985-2011”

The thirteenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on April 15, 2021. Amy Catalinac (New York University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Michael Sharpe (York College/CUNY) presented his paper, “Selecting Legal Residents by Unemployment and Ethnicity in the Liberal Democratic State to ‘Control Unwanted Immigration’: Remigration in The Netherlands and Japan 1985-2011.” In his presentation, Sharpe explored why the Netherlands (a country with a relatively liberal immigration policy legacy) has pursued a policy of remigration targeting immigrants from non-European backgrounds while Japan (a country with a more restrictive policy legacy) has pursued a similar policy focused on encouraging immigrants with Japanese ancestry to leave Japan. Sharpe answers this question using archival and ethnographic research conducted in the Netherlands and Japan during 2006-2012 and 2018. During his presentation, Sharpe outlined three arguments: first, that the Netherlands and Japan follow institutional patterns and practices of emigration. Second, that processes of re-ethnicization (reinforcing ties with emigrants across foreign born generations) can be observed in the Netherlands, while de-ethnicization (easing access for all immigrants) occurred in Japan. Tying these two arguments together, Sharpe further argued that said remigration policies are a symbolic attempt by states to control unwanted immigration and address critical “ethnic” social and economic problems with implications for national identity and international law.

Discussant comments were offered by Annika Hinze (Fordham University) and  Michael Strausz (Texas Christian University). The discussion raised interesting questions about Japanese immigration politics and policy. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted close to thirty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/

Categories
comparative politics Japan-related research

JPOSS #12 “How Do Voters Perceive Female Politicians’ Abilities to Distribute Pork? (Pre-analysis Plan)”

The twelfth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on April 1, 2021. Daniel M. Smith (Harvard University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Taishi Muraoka (Washington University in St. Louis) presented his pre-analysis plan, “How Do Voters Perceive Female Politicians’ Abilities to Distribute Pork?” In his presentation, Muraoka examined whether voters believe that female politicians are more or less competent in the domain of distributive (or pork-barrel) politics. To answer this question, Muraoka outlined research design to shed light on this question using original
original survey experiments that measure voters’ perceptions about female
politicians’ abilities in two policy areas related to “pork”: agricultural subsidies and infrastructure investment. With the aim of theorizing the linkage between political science literatures on gender and distributive politics, Muroaka discussed his plan to test the proposition that voters believe that female politicians are less competent at distributive politics using samples of adults from two OECD countries with the lowest levels of gender representation where distributive politics plays an important role: Hungary and Japan.

Discussant comments were offered by  Nichole M. Bauer (Louisiana State University), Alexander Coppock (Yale University). The discussion raised interesting questions about the theoretical linkages between public attitudes toward gender and distributive politics, Japanese electoral politics, and the pros and cons of using different kinds of experimental research methods. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted close to forty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/

Categories
comparative politics Japan-related research

JPOSS #11 “The Clash of Traditional Values: Attitudes toward a Male-line Monarchy under a Succession Crisis”

The eleventh session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on March 4, 2021. Charles Crabtree  (Dartmouth) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Kenneth Mori McElwain (University of Tokyo) and Yuki Shiraito (University of Michigan) presented their paper co-authored with Guoer Liu (University of Michigan), “The Clash of Traditional Values: Attitudes toward a Male-line Monarchy under a Succession Crisis.” In their presentation, McElwain and Shiraito explored how public attitudes toward the ascension of a female monarch in Japan’s traditionally male-only patrilineal imperial system allows scholars to grapple with the tension between preserving the traditions and institutional adaptation (referred to as the clash of values) in the Japanese context. This is a particularly salient issue in Japanese politics given that the small number of legitimate heirs has raised concerns about the viability of the Japanese monarchy. Liu, McElwain and Shiraito explore this topic using a two-wave survey experiment to examine how values are connected to citizens’ attitudes about competing reform proposals, using item counting techniques (list
experiments) to elicit more truthful responses. They find that conservatism and traditional gender norms are associated with stronger opposition to the ascension of female monarchs. Their results suggest that sexism can impede efforts to persuade voters of the material necessity of gender-neutral reforms to established institutions.

Discussant comments were offered by  Margarita Estévez-Abe (Syracuse University) and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo (University of California, Berkeley). The discussion raised interesting questions about the use of list experiments, the roots of sexism, and what prompts monarchical institutions to move away from traditions of male-only patrilineal succession. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted over sixty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/

Categories
Japan-related research

JPOSS #10 “Professional Development #2: Working on Japan, Working in Japan”

The tenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on February 11, 2021. Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

The sessions included discussions of the experiences of Japanese scholars working in the US, and foreign scholars working in Japan. Saori Katada (University of Southern California) reflected on her experiences launching an academic career in the US and highlighted many contrasts between Japanese and American universities in terms of what students, colleagues, and administrators expect from professors. Gill Steel (Doshisha University) complemented remarks made by Katada as she discussed her experiences working as a foreign academic working in a Japanese university. Ellis Kraus (University of California, San Diego) discussed how researchers can ethically and strategically study controversial topics in Japan and provided many valuable insights applicable to political science as well as social science more broadly. The panel also explored non-academic career paths available to Japan scholars, Sheila Smith (Council on Foreign Relations) discussed her experience working outside the academic world as a Japan expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The session attracted over seventy participants and included an active Q&A session on said topics. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: https://jposs.org/