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Book Review "Japan’s Prisoners of Conscience"


The Journal of Japanese Studies, Volume 50, Number 1, Winter 2024

"Review " (pp. 222-226) Professor Daniel Foote of the University of Tokyo reviewed Japan's Prisoners of Conscience in the Journal of Japanese Studies. The review is attached.

Japan’s Prisoners of Conscience -- Protest and Law During the Iraq War



This book tells the story of the arrests and criminal prosecution of three peaceful protesters in Japan designated “Prisoners of Conscience” by Amnesty International during the Iraq War. While transporting readers into protest gatherings and courtrooms, it examines the larger issues raised by the police crackdown and its impact on the rule of law in a democratic society. Based on interviews with defendants, lawyers and eyewitnesses, and other Japanese language sources, the book carries rich descriptions of the individuals at the heart of the story, including the charismatic leader of the "Tachikawa Tent Village" who has been protesting since U.S. military forces were stationed in her hometown in the early post-war era. Authored by an attorney who has researched and written on Japan’s legal system for more than three decades, this book offers expert insights into the roles of the police, the news media, and the legal profession in shaping the right to free speech in Japan.

The New Cambridge History of Japan: Volume 3, The Modern Japanese Nation and Empire, c.1868 to the Twenty-First Century


Cambridge University Press

“The Struggle to Protect Individual Rights in Postwar Japan: Seven Decades of Progress" (pp. 223 - 260) This major new volume presents innovative recent scholarship on Japan's modern history, including its imperial past and transregional entanglements. An international team of leading scholars offer accessible and thought-provoking essays that present an expansive global vision of the archipelago's history from c. 1868 to the twenty-first century. Japan was the first non-Western society to become a modern nation and empire, to industrialize, and to deliver a high standard of living to virtually all its citizens, capturing international attention ever since. These Japanese efforts to reshape global hierarchies powered a variety of debates and conflicts, both at home and with people and places beyond Japan's shores. Drawing on the latest Japanese and English-language scholarship, this volume highlights Japan's distinctive and fast-changing history.

Japan in the Heisei Era (1989–2019)



"The fight for open government in the Heisei era" (pp. 69 - 81) Japan's open government movement continually expanded throughout the Heisei era. Launched in the 1970s by a handful of activists, it led to action at the national level when the Murayama administration appointed a committee of experts to draft an ‘information disclosure’ law in 1995. This served as the blueprint for a statute passed by the Diet in 1999. The 1999 law established a simple procedure that enables anyone to demand access to information held by national government agencies. Tens of thousands of requests are filed each year. Although the law designates categories exempt from disclosure, much valuable information is released. News reporters have used the law to produce countless stories based on otherwise non-public information. At times they have exposed cases of shocking government malfeasance. This chapter tells of the political struggle to adopt the information disclosure law and other open government reforms, illustrated by numerous examples related to consumer product safety, nuclear power regulation, deployment of Japan's military forces, operations of US military bases in Japan, and other topics of great interest to the Japanese people.

Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan - Second Edition



"Limiting fundamental rights protection in Japan: the role of the Supreme Court" (pp. 31 - 46) This new and fully updated second edition of Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan provides undergraduate and graduate students with an interdisciplinary textbook written by leading specialists on contemporary Japan. Students will gain the analytical insights and information necessary to assess the challenges that confront the Japanese people, policymakers and private and public-sector institutions in Japan today. Featuring a comprehensive analysis of key debates and issues confronting Japan, issues covered include: A rapidly aging society and changing employment system Nuclear and renewable energy policy Gender discrimination Immigration and ethnic minorities Post-3/11 tsunami, earthquake and nuclear meltdown developments Sino-Japanese relations An essential reference work for students of contemporary Japan, it is also an invaluable source for a variety of courses, including comparative politics, anthropology, public policy and international relations.
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