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: http://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: http://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: http://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: http://jposs.org/

Categories
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/

Categories
Japan-related research

JPOSS #3 “How to Frame Japan-Related Research for Publications and the Job Market”

The third session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on September 17, 2020. Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Amy Catalinac (NYU) discussed research framing, drawing on her own research to argue that using Japan to try to understand something general about the world can be an effective way to appeal to a wider audience in political science. Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth) described his experience as faculty outside of the United States, explaining the struggles he endured but also the insights he gained. He suggested that Japan scholars should aim to write the best paper possible rather than trying to aim for lower-level journals. Dan Smith (Harvard) emphasized the importance of cultivating professional networks and making effective use of public engagement and social media. Charles Crabtree (Dartmouth) provided advice about approaching the job market, emphasizing how candidates should place Japan in a broader context to increase appeal, apply broadly, and practice self-care in a tough market. Christina Davis (Harvard) described some of the challenges of finding the right balance between Japan expertise and scholarship that appeals to the broader political science community.

The session attracted over one hundred participants, a new record for JPOSS. An active Q&A session included additional words of wisdom from Tom Le (Pomona), Susan Pharr (Harvard) and Hiroki Takeuchi (Southern Methodist) on topics such as how to approach advisors to secure strong letters of support and differences between research and teaching universities.

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/