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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: http://jposs.org/

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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: http://jposs.org/

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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: http://jposs.org/

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comparative politics international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS #5 “Advisors or Agents? Bureaucratic Structure and the Politics of Trade Protection”

The fifth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on October 15, 2020. Christina Davis (Harvard) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Diana Stanescu (Harvard University) presented an overview of her doctoral thesis, “Advisors or Agents? Bureaucratic Structure and the Politics of Trade Protection.” In her presentation, Stanescu explored an important player in trade politics that extant studies have tended to overlook–namely, bureaucrats. Leveraging WTO reports, her research introduces an original time-series cross-sectional data-set that measures the institutional design of state bureaucracies engaged in trade policy covering 135 countries for over a 20 year period. Stanescu empirically tests the effect of bureaucracies on non-tariff barriers – a form of administered protection. She finds that bureaucracies with apolitical expertise implement policies that are less protectionist than those that engage active industry participation, controlling for macroeconomic shocks and confounders for institutional design. Stanescu also presented findings from a case study of Japan to illustrate her argument’s causal mechanism.

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 Stanescu’s presentation raised questions about the impact that bureaucrats have on trade policy in general but especially in the Japanese context. 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: http://jposs.org/

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comparative politics

JPOSS #4 “Can University Education Cultivate Immigrant Integration? The Case of Local Enfranchisement for Foreign Residents in Japan”

The fourth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on October 1, 2020. Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Fan Lu (Queens University) and Gento Kato (Nazarbayev University) presented their paper, “Can University Education Cultivate Immigrant Integration? The Case of Local Enfranchisement for Foreign Residents in Japan.” In their presentation, Lu and Kato introduced an original theoretical argument that more clearly specifies the relationship between support for immigration and natives’ level of education than existing political science and migration studies have done. Moreover, their innovative theoretical model is tailored to explain the nuances of the Japanese context. Using sophisticated matching techniques to analyze public opinion surveys fielded between 2009 and 2014, Lu and Kato argue that Japanese university education broadly has a limited impact on public support for granting voting rights to foreign residents. However, they do find that university education does stronger effect when it is mediated through improved attitudes toward Koreans (the dominant group of permanent foreign residents in Japan also referred to as Zainichi Koreans) and that females are more likely to support enfranchisement of foreign residents than males.

Discussant comments were offered by Reiko Kage (University of Tokyo) and Rocio Titiunik (Princeton). The discussion raised interesting questions about the ways in which university education may instill progressive social and political views in students as well as the nuances and uniqueness of Japan’s legacy of disenfranchised former colonial subjects. 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 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/

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comparative politics

JPOSS #2 “Do Firms Benefit from the Revolving Door? Evidence from Japan”

The second session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on August 14, 2020. Daniel Smith (Harvard) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session, he also welcomed other future participants to submit papers for future sessions at http://jposs.org/submit/.

Trevor Incerti (Yale) and Hikaru Yamagishi (Yale) presented their paper, “Do Firms Benefit from the Revolving Door? Evidence from Japan.” In their presentation, Incerti and Yamagishi presented a quantitative dataset that explores an area of Japanese political economy that is widely known but less understood, the private sector hiring of former civil servants—a process known as the revolving door (or amakudari in Japanese). Incerti and Yamagishi leverage a 2009 law requiring Japanese bureaucratic agencies to report all private sector hires of former civil servants in order to build the first comprehensive dataset of revolving door hires in Japan. In addition to presenting a descriptive account of revolving door hires over the past ten years and data on Japanese government contracts, the authors discussed their plans for integrating said datasets into future research projects that explore various aspects of how Japanese firms benefit from hiring former bureaucrats.

Discussant comments were offered by Hye Young You (NYU), Yuhua Wang (Harvard), and Ulrike Schaede (UCSD). The discussion raised interesting questions about how the revolving door impacts Japanese politics and economy. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions on possible future directions of the research.

The seminar attracted around fifty-five participants from all over the world. 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. You can learn more here: http://jposs.org/

Categories
comparative politics

JPOSS #1 “The New Consensus on Immigration? Identifying the Racial Undertones of Immigrant Selection Outside the Western Context”

The inaugural session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on July 9, 2020. Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto) offered welcome remarks and encouraged participants to submit papers for future sessions at http://jposs.org/submit/. Amy Catalinac (New York University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Nicholas A. R. Fraser (University of Toronto) and John W. Cheng (Tsuda University) presented their paper, “The New Consensus on Immigration?: Identifying the Racial Undertones of Immigrant Selection Outside the Western Context.” In their presentation, Fraser and Cheng explored Japanese attitudes toward immigration—a topic that is increasingly salient in contemporary Japanese politics. Specifically, they discussed the results of a survey-based study that asks respondents to consider allowing randomly generated profiles of hypothetical immigrants to enter Japan. Building on previous studies that explore public support for immigration, they demonstrated that Japanese respondents tend to prefer high-skilled immigrants. Moreover, Fraser and Cheng’s study finds that Japanese tend to prefer white immigrants from developed countries over those from developing countries. Fraser and Cheng explained how their paper contributes to our understanding of Japanese immigration policy and the politics that shape it.

Discussant comments were offered by Hilary Holbrow (Harvard University), Rieko Kage (University of Tokyo), Charles Crabtree (Dartmouth College), and Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College). The discussion raised fascinating questions about whether and how racial biases in the West translate to the Japanese context. The discussants and audience also offered many constructive suggestions on the framing, research design, and analysis of the paper.

The seminar attracted around sixty participants from all over the world. 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. You can learn more here: http://jposs.org/