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comparative politics international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS #26: “Field Research When There’s Limited Access to the Field: Lessons from Japan”

The twenty-fifth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on January 27, 2022. Daniel M. Smith (Harvard University) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Kenya Amano (University of Washington), Melanie Sayuri Dominguez (University of New Mexico), Timothy Fraser (Northeastern University), Etienne Gagnon (University of Tokyo), Trevor Incerti  (Yale University), Jinhyuk Jang (Pennsylvania State University), Charles T. McClean (University of Michigan), Austin M. Mitchell (Tohoku University), Sayumi Miyano (Princeton University), Colin Moreshead (Yale University), Harunobu Saijo (Duke University), Diana Stanescu (Stanford University), Ayumi Teraoka (Princeton University), Hikaru Yamagishi (Yale University), Charmaine N. Willis (University at Albany, State University of New York), Yujin Woo (Waseda University), Charles Crabtree  (Dartmouth College) presented their paper which identifies recent issues researchers have had conducting fieldwork in Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss potential solutions to overcome these challenges.

Amano and colleagues discussed several logistical challenges that the current pandemic poses for conducting fieldwork in Japan specifically, but which could apply to other contexts: (1) the availability of research visas in the target country; (2) limitations placed on travel by home institutions and/or funders; (3) opportunities to work with local sponsors and network; (4) ethical restrictions to in-person contact; and, (5) changing entry restrictions both in their target country and at research locations (i.e., archives, libraries, and university facilities).

To overcome these logistical challenges, Amano and colleagues offered several recommendations. First, they offered strategies for conducting interview-based research remotely.

Second, Amano and colleagues talked about how researchers can leverage observational data that has been less frequently used.

Third, Amano and colleagues examined the trade-offs of pivoting research designs to include observational and experimental public opinion surveys.

During the Q and A session, participants offered further insights on these potential solutions and pinpointed other strategies that researchers working on might deploy to overcome challenges conducting fieldwork in Japan. Both the presenters and participants also pointed out how these strategies for conducting fieldwork in the age of COVID-19 can be applied by those researching other contexts.

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
international relations Japan-related research

JPOSS #25: “Official Knowledge of Foreign Relations Law in U.S.-Japan Relations”

The twenty-fourth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on January 13, 2022. Charles Crabtree (Dartmouth College) chaired the seminar and moderated the Q & A session.

Ryan Scoville (Marquette University Law School) presented his research on knowledge of U. S. foreign relations law as it is understood by Japanese government officials. His work addresses a gap in existing legal scholarship on the laws governing how the U. S. engages in foreign relations (treaty-making, managing security, etc.) by investigating the extent to which foreign governments understand this aspect of American law. Using a case study of Japan, Scoville makes three points. First, meta-knowledge is valuable as the U. S. government needs to gauge how well foreign governments understand American foreign relations law to improve it in terms of optimizing design and use. Second, meta-knowledge of U. S. foreign relations law is generally lacking. Three, scholars should cultivate an understanding of U. S. foreign relations law.

Discussant comments were given by Kevin Cope (University of Virginia School of Law) and Andrew Oros (Washington College). During the Q and A session, participants raised important questions about the degree to which researchers can accurately gauge how well foreign governments understand U. S. foreign relations law and the implications of such knowledge for international relations.

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 Japan-related research

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

The twenty-third 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/

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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/

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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/

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/

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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/

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/