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comparative politics Japan-related research

JPOSS #23 “Evolving Linkage Strategies: The Resilience of the LDP-Postmasters Alliance”

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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/

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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”

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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/

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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 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/

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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/