Japan in the Heisei Era (1989–2019)
"The fight for open government in the Heisei era" 14 pages
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)
Five years after the first edition, the updated version delivers chapters on diverse topics from more than twenty authors. See my chapter on Japan’s Supreme Court.
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
Immigration and ethnic minorities
Post-3/11 tsunami, earthquake and nuclear meltdown developments
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.
PRESS FREEDOM IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN
"Chilling effects on news reporting in Japan's "anonymous society" " (pp. 93 - 109)
In twenty-first century Japan there are numerous instances of media harassment, intimidation, censorship and self-censorship that undermine the freedom of the press and influence how the news is reported. Since Abe returned to power in 2012, the recrudescence of nationalism under his leadership has emboldened right-wing activists and organizations targeting liberal media outlets, journalists, peace museums and ethnic Korean residents in Japan. This ongoing culture war involves the media, school textbooks, constitutional revision, pacifism and security doctrine.
This text is divided into five sections that cover:
Politics of press freedom;
The legal landscape;
History and culture;
PR, public diplomacy and manipulating opinion.
Press Freedom in Contemporary Japan brings together contributions from an international and interdisciplinary line-up of academics and journalists intimately familiar with the current climate, in order to discuss and evaluate these issues and explore potential future outcomes. It is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand contemporary Japan and the politics of freedom of expression and transparency in the Abe era. It will appeal to students, academics, Japan specialists, journalists, legal scholars, historians, political scientists, sociologists, and those engaged in human rights, media studies and Asian Studies.
Japan: The Precarious Future
"State Power versus Individual Freedom: Japan's Constitutional Past, Present, and Possible Futures" (with Colin Jones) (pp. 304 - 328)
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake off Japan’s northeast coast triggered a tsunami that killed more than 20,000 people, displaced 600,000, and caused billions of dollars in damage as well as a nuclear meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Japan, the world’s third largest economy, was already grappling with recovery from both its own economic recession of the 1990s and the global recession following the US-driven financial crisis of 2008 when the disaster hit, changing its fortunes yet again. This small, populous Asian nation—once thought to be a contender for the role of the world’s number one power—now faces a world of uncertainty.
Japan’s economy has shrunk, China has challenged its borders, and it faces perilous demographic adjustments from decreased fertility and an aging populace, with the country’s population expected to drop to less than 100 million by 2048.
In Japan: The Precarious Future, a group of distinguished scholars of Japanese economics, politics, law, and society examine the various roads that might lie ahead. Will Japan face a continued erosion of global economic and political power, particularly as China’s outlook improves exponentially? Or will it find a way to protect its status as an important player in global affairs? Contributors explore issues such as national security, political leadership, manufacturing prowess, diplomacy, population decline, and gender equality in politics and the workforce, all in an effort to chart the possible futures for Japan. Both a roadmap for change and a look at how Japan arrived at its present situation, this collection of thought-provoking analyses will be essential for understanding the current landscape and future prospects of this world power.
Asian Nationalisms Reconsidered
"Nationalism and the law : Japan's tale of two constitutions" (pp. 70 - 82)
Nationalism appears to be rising in a renascent Asia and stoking tensions, aspirations, and identity politics while amplifying grievances and raising questions about prospects in what is touted as the Asian century. This book provides a broad overview and introduction to nationalism in Asia. Leading experts in their fields succinctly convey key information and critical analysis useful to students in a range of courses across disciplines.
Part I presents thematic chapters, mostly cross-national studies, that elucidate the roots and consequences of nationalism in these societies and the varying challenges they confront.
Part II presents concise country case studies in Asia, providing an overview of what is driving contemporary nationalism and surveys the domestic and international implications. Approaching Asia from the perspective of nationalism facilitates a comparative, interdisciplinary analysis that helps readers better understand each society and what the ramifications of nationalism are for contemporary Asians, and the worlds that they (and we) participate in.
Asian Nationalisms Reconsidered is an invaluable textbook for undergraduate courses and graduate seminars related to international relations, Asian Studies, political science, government, foreign policy, peace and conflict, and nationalism.