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comparative politics international relations

“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/

Categories
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/

Categories
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/

Categories
comparative politics Japan-related research

JPOSS #9 “Policy or Valence? Candidate or Party? Assessing Voter Preferences in Japan”

The ninth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on December 17, 2020. Daniel M. Smith (Harvard) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Jordan Hamzawi (University of California, Davis) presented his paper,  “Policy or Valence? Candidate or Party? Assessing Voter Preferences in Japan.” In his presentation, Hamzawi explored an important and puzzling question: why has the Liberal Democratic Party which dominated Japanese politics from 1945 to 1993 become dominant again? He critically evaluates a number of theories that explain why the LDP dominated national politics before Japan’s electoral reform in the 1990s, which triggered a transition from clientelist to issue-based voting, but cannot fully explain why Japanese have supported the LDP since 2012 as many of its policies are unpopular. Using a survey of voter preferences by the Association For Promoting Fair Elections, Hamzawi explores this question. He finds that voters heavily weigh valence—specifically affective valence—when considering their choice of party and candidate. This implies that the LDP’s resurgence stems from voters’ belief that there is no other party with the capacity to govern Japan.

Discussant comments were offered by Kentaro Fukumoto (Gakushuin University) and Zeynep Somer Topcu (University of Texas at Austin). The discussion raised interesting questions about why political parties are able to win elections, the evolution of party politics in Japan, and effective measurement of voter preferences. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted around thirty-five 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 international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS #8 “U.S. Military Should Not Be in My Backyard: A Case of Okinawa”

The eighth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on December 3, 2020. Christina Davis (Harvard) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Takako Hikotani (Columbia), Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth), Atsushi Tago (Waseda) presented their paper, “U. S. Military Should Not Be in My Backyard: A Case of Okinawa.” In their presentation, Hikotani, Horiuchi, and Tago they discuss how their paper is a response to Allen et al. (2020) which argues that citizens in U.S. allies are more likely to nurture favorable attitudes toward the U.S. government, American people, and American troops because they have inter-personal contact with Americans and receive economic benefits associated with the U.S. military presence. They point out that the analysis presented by Allen and colleagues disregards the geographical concentration of U.S. military facilities within the host countries. Seeking to fill this gap, Hikotani, Horiuchi, and Tago explore public attitudes toward the American military presence in Okinawa because of its high concentration of U. S. military bases (a small Japanese prefecture constituting only 0.6% of Japan’s surface land but hosting 70% of U.S. military facilities within Japan). Based on a national sample and a targeted sample from Okinawa, they not only replicate the survey experiment used in Allen et al. (2020) but also field a new one designed to elicit Japanese citizens’ attitudes toward the Osprey deployment in Japan. Hikotani and colleagues’ study shows strong Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) sentiment among Japanese people, particularly among Okinawans, toward the military presence, regardless of their contact with Americans and economic benefits. In this way, Hikotani, Horiuchi, and Tago’s research highlights the salience of local attitudes toward U. S. military bases in allied countries where American troops are stationed and contributes to foreign policy debates about American military presence in the world.

Discussant comments were offered by Yoshiaki Kubo (Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations; University of the Ryukyus), Michael Tomz (Stanford). The discussion raised interesting questions about the Japanese and Okinawan public attitudes toward the U. S. and American military personnel stationed in Japan as well as the Japanese Self Defense Forces. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted around seventy-five 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
international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS #7 “Third Party Coercion and Gray Zone Conflicts: Assessing the East China Sea, 2008-2014”

The seventh session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on November 12, 2020. Phillip Y. Lipscy (University of Toronto) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Ayumi Teraoka (Princeton) presented an overview of her paper, “Third Party Coercion and Gray Zone Conflicts: Assessing U. S. Foreign Policy over the East China Sea, 2008-2014.” In her presentation, Teraoka explored an interesting puzzle in international security–that is, why the United States failed in its dual deterrence strategy to designed to dissuade China and Japan from engaging in escalatory behavior during the East China Sea Dispute (2008-2014). Using qualitative evidence gathered through process-tracing, she calls into question the conventional wisdom on the efficacy of dual deterrence in gray zone conflicts. Teraoka draws on her in-depth case study research to illustrate that dual deterrence in the gray zone conflict requires the third-party to act decisively and issue early threats and assurances against revisionist actions. Moreover, her findings offer valuable insights about the degree to which the U. S. can effectively deter conflict between China and its allies in Asia.

Discussant comments were offered by Tim Crawford (Boston College) and  Mike Mochizuki (George Washington University). The discussion raised interesting questions about the nature of gray zone conflicts and how states can navigate them using deterrence strategies with a particular focus on territorial disputes involving Japan. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions on the framing of the argument, research methods, and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted around thirty-five 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 international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS #6 “Quiet Acquisition: The Politics of Justification in Military Capability Trajectories”

The sixth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on October 29, 2020. Charles Crabtree (Dartmouth College) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Deirdre Martin (UC Berkeley) presented an overview of her doctoral thesis, “Quiet Acquisition: The Politics of Justification in Military Capability Trajectories.” In her presentation, Martin examined why states develop defense capabilities domestically when they are available for purchase from allies. Drawing on case study research conducted in Japan, she argues that acquisition patterns reflect political balancing between states and business actors. Specifically, Martin finds that while state actors are concerned with political costs, business actors are concerned with market access. Moreover, her research shows that when state and business interests align, acquisition patterns become consistent over time. Consistent with job talk formats at many post-secondary institutions, this practice job talk allowed the presenter to engage in a lively discussion with various audience members on the substance of her research. The question and answer session that followed Martin’s presentation raised questions about the trajectory of Japanese military technology and acquisition of advanced weaponry from the 1990s to the present. The audience also provided many constructive suggestions pertaining to theory and research methods.

This event attracted over thirty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenter, 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/