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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 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/