Categories
comparative politics international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS # 24: “Rethinking Environmental Mobilization: Civic Engagement in Post Fukushima Japan”

The twenty-fourth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on December 2, 2021. Phillip Y. Lipscy (University of Toronto) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Pinar Temocin (Hiroshima University) presented her doctoral research exploring the degree to which environmental civil society organizations (ECSOs) might have influenced Japanese energy policy since 3/11. Specifically, her research seeks to investigate domestic advocacy groups pursuing cooperative strategies (Institute of Sustainable Energy Policies, Renewable Energy Institute) as well as international advocacy groups that use a confrontational approach (Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth). Based on in-depth interviews with various policy stakeholders (including environmental advocates, politicians, corporations, and scientists), Temocin finds that ECSOs have had a limited influence on Japanese energy policy since the Fukushima triple disaster in 2011. Her work also suggests that the pro-nuclear lobby has had far more influence on policy relative to environmental activists.

Discussant comments were given by Mary Alice Haddad (Wesleyan University) and Yasuo Takao (Curtin University). During the Q and A session, participants raised important questions about the degree to which civil society groups influence Japanese policy-making and their influence on politicians.

This event attracted around 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 #23 “Evolving Linkage Strategies: The Resilience of the LDP-Postmasters Alliance”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot-458-1024x575.png

The twenty-third session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on October 14, 2021. Daniel Smith (Columbia University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Daniel Koss (Harvard University) presented some of his ongoing research on the political impact of privatizing of the Japanese post office initiated by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2005 and which was seen as a move away from clientelism by Japanese voters at the time. Specifically, Koss explores the enduring alliance between the Liberal Democratic Party and the postmasters, assessing the extent to which the party’s reach comes at the expense of its autonomy. Drawing on a mixed of qualitative and quantitative evidence, he explores linkages between the LDP and Japan Post since 2005. Koss shows that although the relationship between the LDP and Japan Post has changed, both organizations remain tied to one another in a way that continues to impact Japanese electoral politics.

Discussant comments were given by Naofumi Fujimura (Kobe University) and Patricia Maclachlan (University of Texas, Austin). During the Q and A session, participants raised important questions about the the degree to which Japanese electoral politics have moved away from clientelism and the ways in which the LDP has courted rural voters.

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 #21 “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Willingness to Pay for Online Conspiracy Theory Content – Evidence from Japan”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot-456-1024x576.png

The twentieth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on October 14, 2021. Amy Catalinac (New York University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

John W. Cheng (Tsuda University), Masaru Nishikawa (Tsuda University), Ikuma Ogura (Georgetown University) and Nicholas A. R. Fraser (University of California, Berkeley) presented their paper, “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Willingness to Pay for Online Conspiracy Theory Content – Evidence from Japan.” During their presentation, Cheng and colleagues identified gaps in previous studies on conspiracy theory belief within political science: first, few have explored Japan; and second, few if any explore the extent to which people are who claim belief in conspiracy theories are willing to act on their beliefs. Cheng and co-authors seek to address these points by exploring the extent to which Japanese are willing to pay for online conspiracy theory content. Using a survey experiment that randomly assigns descriptions of hypothetical videos with conspiracy theory content, Cheng and colleagues demonstrate that most Japanese would not be willing to pay for such content. Moreover, they find that men and those who get their news from social media are most likely to pay for online conspiracy theory content.

Discussant comments were offered by Masato Kajimoto (University of Hong Kong) and Joseph Uscinski (University of Miami). In addition to offering insightful comments on research methods, participants discussed what it means to act on conspiracy theory beliefs and the extent to which this may occur in the Japanese context.

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/

Categories
comparative politics international relations Japan-related research Uncategorized

JPOSS #20: “Career Paths and Job Market Strategies for Japan Scholars”

The twentieth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on September 23, 2021. Christina L. Davis (Harvard University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

The sessions included discussions of the experiences of Japan scholars working in the US and Japan. Sherry L. Martin (U.S. Department of State) reflected on her experiences launching an academic career in the US and her subsequent transition into government work, highlighting the many ways in which Japan scholars can leverage their expertise to pursue a career in public service. Kenneth Mori McElwain (University of Tokyo) provided unique insights on how and why Japanese post-secondary institutions may wish to hire political scientists from abroad who do research on Japan. Kristin Vekasi (Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations; University of Maine) discussed her experiences applying to academic and non-academic jobs, highlighting how Japan scholars can use their regional expertise to bring new perspectives in teaching and research as well as the importance of emphasizing their foreign language skills.

The session attracted several 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 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/

Categories
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/

Categories
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/

Categories
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/

Categories
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/

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/