Yale Project on Japan’s Politics and Diplomacy Series

Event
Posted : January 9, 2019

Do generational cohort effects on participation differ between women and men of developed democracies?  Scholars concur that generational cohort effects are typically shaped by “formative experiences.”  Robert Putnam and others have pointed to the experience of mobilization during World War II as the “formative experience” that led the “greatest generation” to participate at especially high rates throughout the course of their lives, while others such as M. Kent Jennings have stressed the 1960s protests as propelling the particularly high levels of participation among the baby-boomer...

Event
Posted : January 9, 2019

Japan’s security policy is undergoing a significant change from its traditional postwar “pacifist” defense posture. At the heart of the recent changes is the 2015 legislation, which allows for exercising the right of collective self-defense and hence expanding the permissible roles for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. In his lecture, Professor Kurizaki examines the Japanese government’s claim that these changes are vital to support allied deterrence of threats against Japan, and necessary to enhance Japan’s security in a region of shifting power. Specifically, he extends game-...

Event
Posted : October 4, 2018

Debates over constitutional revision have picked up steam since 2012, when the Liberal Democratic Party returned to power. PM Shinzo Abe has declared constitutional amendment–particularly of Article 9–to be one of his top priorities, but it is not clear whether the public shares his commitment. Newspaper surveys tend to produce inconsistent results, suggesting the need for a more rigorous analysis of public opinion. Dr. McElwain will discuss the results of two online survey experiments conducted in 2017 and 2018. In one survey, we test the effects of changing the “proposer” of...

Event
Posted : October 1, 2018

Japan and Germany are well-known for their post-1945 American-imposed “peace constitutions” that forbade either country from having armed forces, armaments or engaging in war. Both have strong anti-militarist (but not “pacifist”) sub-cultures. Yet despite this today both are key U.S. allies, have substantial military forces (Japan is 7th in global firepower and has the second strongest nation in the Pacific after the U.S.; Germany is one of the key countries in NATO and 9th in global firepower), and after the Cold War have supported U.S. military operations abroad either in combat (Germany)...

Event
Posted : February 8, 2018

After WWII, Japan aspired to become a full-fledged player in the international system principally conceived and run by the United States. The 1941 Roosevelt Four Freedoms Speech is reflected in the 1945 UN Charter as well as in the 1947 Japanese Constitution. Since than, Japan has pursued, and thrived in, this world order, enhancing and somewhat shifting its role. Seventy years hence, Japan adheres to the basic values of human rights, democracy, free economy and rule of law. Today when liberalism as the ultimate answer to solve global questions is under certain skepticism, the lecturer...

Event
Posted : January 11, 2018

The world seems to be going through many fundamental changes. Some of them deeply worry us or scare us. While they require careful examination and response, they often produce frustration, uneasiness, and uncertainty among peoples and countries of the world. They may also lead to excessive and emotional reactions and irrational denials.    North Korea presents a prime example of these worrisome changes. Trying desperately to survive, Mr. Kim seems to be succeeding in transforming this oppressive and dysfunctional regime into a country capable of launching an ICBM targeted at Washington. An...

Event
Posted : January 10, 2018

Since the global financial crisis, many countries have experienced worryingly low inflation or deflation. Some central banks have taken aggressive unorthodox measures such as large scale quantitative easing, while others have taken a more cautious approach.  What determines the extent to which central banks have tackled the problem of low inflation?  Particularly interesting is the case of the Bank of Japan (BOJ), which for 15 years since its de jure independence of 1998 resisted adaptation of such unorthodox measures.  Examining the case of Japan, this project makes the case that the policy...

Event
Posted : October 17, 2017

This paper identifies voter-based mechanisms underlying why economic policies across countries do not converge to a single, successful model. We demonstrate that exposure to news about foreign government policies can change policy preferences of citizens through peer emulation and backlash against it. These heterogeneous responses arise due to citizens’ divergent predispositions about a foreign country being their “peer.” We test this argument with two coordinated survey experiments in Japan and Taiwan in 2015, which randomly assigned news reporting on the South Korea-China trade agreement...

Event
Posted : September 20, 2017

In low-information elections, voters may rely on gender stereotypes when evaluating female candidates relative to male candidates, and this may hinder women’s electoral success. In this study, we evaluate the impact of information on voter support for female candidates with a survey experiment conducted during the 2016 election for Japan’s House of Councillors, which includes a nationwide open-list proportional representation contest. We also consider the effect of compulsory preference voting, which may counteract gender-based inequalities in participation, as well as incentivize voters to...

Event
Posted : February 16, 2017

Event
Posted : July 27, 2016

Representative democracy necessitates the aggregation of multiple policy issues by parties into competing bundles of policies, or “manifestos,” which are then evaluated holistically by voters in elections. This aggregation process complicates our understanding of the multidimensional policy preferences underlying a voter’s single choice of a party or candidate. We address this problem with a novel conjoint experiment based on actual party manifestos. By juxtaposing sets of issue positions as hypothetical manifestos and asking respondents to choose one, our study identifies the effects...

Event
Posted : July 26, 2016

Surveying the changes in Japan’s place in the world from the ashes of defeat in 1945 to the country’s growing global role in a fast-changing region under Prime Minister Abe, Aaron Forsberg discusses his scholarly research on Japan’s postwar revival and his experience working on Japanese affairs at the U.S. Department of State since 2001. Keying off of the relationship between Japan and the United States, his talk explores the internal and external drivers of policy across the major phases of Japan’s place in the world since 1945. These include reintegration into the international community as...

Event
Posted : July 26, 2016

Political dynasties exist in nearly all democracies, but have been conspicuously prevalent in Japan, where over a third of all legislators and two-thirds of all cabinet ministers in recent years come from families with a history in parliament. Such a high proportion of dynasties in a developed democracy is unusual, and has sparked concerns over whether the democratic processes in Japan are working properly. In his book project, Dynasties and Democracy: The Inherited Incumbency Advantage and Institutional Reform in Japan, Daniel M. Smith introduces a comparative theory to explain the...

Event
Posted : May 26, 2016

Senior scholars from Japan and the United States will travel to Yale for this conference and give presentations on Japanese foreign and domestic policy. In addition, graduate students from Yale, Stanford, Princeton, and Boston University will present their work.    Panelists:  • Takako Hikotani (National Defense Academy) • Jennifer Lind (Dartmouth College) • Keisuke Iida (University of Tokyo) • Syuhei Kurizaki (Waseda University) • Ryo Sahashi (Kangawa University) • Chikako Ueki (Waseda University)  • Phillip Lipscy (Stanford University) • Nobuhiro Hiwatari (University of Tokyo) Graduate...

Event
Posted : January 7, 2016

Against the backdrop of evolving social institutions over the last 100 years, I will explore the role women have played in Japanese society through reflection on the lives of my grandmother, my mother, and myself Nobuko Sasae works as a conference interpreter and currently resides in Washington, D.C. along with her husband, Kenichiro Sasae, the present Ambassador of Japan to the United States.  As a graduate of Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo from their College of Literature, Department of English, Mrs. Sasae went on to receive a Masters of Education from the University of Pennsylvania.  ...

Event
Posted : January 6, 2016

What explains the rise and fall of military power in Japan? I identify key determinants of Japan’s military power and security policy in recent years to be a set of political institutions, pacifist norms, and laws. While China’s rise in military power has caused Japan to upgrade its capability and use technology and foreign cooperation to buttress military power, the “troika” of the postwar institutions has long shaped Japan’s security policy and constrained the use of force. I will show that the institutional, normative, and legal constraints are a large part of...

Event
Posted : January 6, 2016

Since 3.11, there has been a resurgence of political activism, especially among women. Activists, NPOs (non-profit organizations), NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and voluntary organizations help women manage needs related to the disasters and prolonged relocation. These organizations provide services and create spaces for women’s empowerment and care. Yet by finding solutions outside of the political system, the gap between civil society—where women are active and engaged—and Japan’s political institutions has deepened, further marginalizing women from the political process. For women...

Event
Posted : January 6, 2016

The Treaty of Peace with Japan, commonly known as the San Francisco Peace Treaty, was signed on September 8, 1951 in San Francisco, and came into force on April 28, 1952.  This post-World War II settlement with Japan, prepared and signed against the backdrop of the intensifying Cold War, fell far short of settling outstanding issues at the end of the war or facilitating a clean start for the “postwar” period in East Asia. Rather, various aspects of the settlement were left equivocal. The  peace treaty, which largely determined Japan’s position in the post-war world, along with the US-Japan...

Event
Posted : October 2, 2015

With Prime Minister Abe’s hawkish reputation and the recent legislation of the collective self-defense law, Japan has seemingly been tilting toward the right over the last few years. Yet, does the government’s shift reflect Japanese people’s opinions? Are Japanese people hawkish? If so, what factors might have a pacifying effect on the hawkish attitude? Through a series of public opinion surveys related to the case of the ongoing territorial disputes between Japan and China, this study examines conditions under which the lay public becomes dovish.

Event
Posted : September 4, 2015

A puzzling turnaround in attention to national security among the conservative politicians governing Japan occurred in 1997, which preceded a dramatic transformation in Japanese security policy.  Curiously, this turnaround is not explained by other variables believed to influence Japanese security policy, such as concerns about the strength of the U.S. commitment or the security threat posed by China. Using 7,497 candidate election manifestos, 126,275 voter petitions, public opinion polls, a case study of politicians’ treatment of the North Korean threat, insights from years spent...

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