Japanese Politics

Japanese Politics Final Papers

Adhikari, Sadichchha. 2015. Influence from Afar: A Look at Japanese Foreign Aid to Nepal Post-Maoist Insurgency

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency, JICA, is one of the largest donors of bilateral foreign aid with policies directly affecting several regions worldwide. One such regions is Nepal, a small South Asian developing country, who recently underwent a complete government overhaul that led to a Maoist-led government in a newly established federal republic in 2008. After this drastic transformation, JICA ramped up their foreign aid disbursements to several infrastructure-developing sectors of Nepal. This increased foreign aid allocation can be attributed to Japan’s desire for more of a leadership position in East Asia and its inability to do so due to China’s increasing influence in South Asia and Nepal specifically. Additionally, it can also be attributed to Nepal’s increased vulnerability and JICA’s anti-terrorism through infrastructure development goals of 2008. Because of the diverse range of Japan’s foreign aid recipients, this study can be used to predict Japanese aid patterns for other regions.

Bennett, Zachary. 2017. Electoral Reform in Japan: Delayed by the Opposition.

This paper discusses why electoral reform took so long to accomplish in Japan and argues that the SNTV electoral system persisted for a long time primarily due to rejection by the opposition parties rather than policies of the LDP.  When the opposition finally committed itself to reforming the system, it was able to work with the LDP to replace the SNTV with MMM.

Beteta, Shirley. 2017. Democracy​ ​via.​ ​1964​ ​Tokyo​ ​Olympic​ ​Games &​ ​1988​ ​Seoul​ ​Olympic​ ​Games.

This paper analyzes both the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and 1988 Seoul Olympics as separate case studies. First the importance of national image will be explained to accentuate the impact it has on countries that host the Olympic Games. The history of each country will be introduced as it paves the path to the democratization of each nation. The significance of Japan and South Korea hosting the Summer Olympics will be explained as the impact they each had in further democratizing and developing their prospective country will be analyzed. Furthermore, the influence the Olympic Games had in Tokyo and Seoul will be compared to evaluate how each country used the Olympics to build their national image. In conclusion, I will argue that although hosting the Olympic games served South Korea as a platform for its “coming out party” as they celebrated the nations arrival, the same could not be said for Japan as they used the Olympic Games as a chance to reintegrate themselves as a reformed global leader.

Canfield, Jonathan. 2017. Recent Shift in Japanese Security. From Cold War Bilateralism to Concrete Multilateral Security Post-2012 in the Asia-Pacific.

This paper discusses how it affects Japan’s evolving trajectory to deepen security relations in the region. At first it lays out fundamental definitions and theories in terms of my argument. Then, it discusses the historical background leading up to the greater significance of Japan’s security shift, particularly highlighting the extent of autonomy from bilateral to multilateral ties. Formal analysis in three parts will follow to assess the factors causing Japan’s post-2012 security development.

Chirathivat, Rit. 2017. The Japanese Government’s Involvement in Japan’s Automotive Industry and the Venture into China.

The political and social relationship between Japan and China has historically been tumultuous. From the occupation of Manchuria in the Second World War to the more recent Senkaku island dispute, tensions between the two countries are not uncommon. However, Japanese automotive firms have set up a solid foothold in China and in 2016, hit an all-time high in sales.  In this paper, I want to explore how the Japanese automotive industry has penetrated the Chinese market, and how it can grow despite the troubled history between the two countries. It turns out that Japanese automakers grew internationally because of their superior technology as well as their strong informal connections with business channels in many Asian countries. Japan’s government also held a pivotal role in the international expansion of Japanese automakers by ensuring they grew strong through methods of protectionism. And now, as Japanese firms continue to deepen business ties with other East and Southeast Asian countries, it is probable that Sino-Japanese relations will improve as the Chinese stand to benefit from foreign direct investment and healthy economic ties in an increasingly global economy.

Christophe, Keishan. 2017. From Tin Toys to Television: The Emergence of Japanese Soft Power.

This Paper seeks to answer this question by looking at how the collapse of Japanese hard power laid the foundation for the importance and necessity of strong Japanese soft/smart power.

Dessources, Fritzgi​. 2017. Karoshi,​ ​Labor​ ​relations​ ​and​ ​Japanese​ ​Society.

The existence of anti-karoshi activism in Japan attests to the salience of such a phenomenon in society. Yet, despite an effective civil society and growing activism for victims, karoshi continues to be an issue at the workplace. Although numbers are far below those from a couple of decades ago, there are still hundreds, if not thousands, of Japanese workers whose cause of death is attributed to overwork and stress, in other words, to karoshi. Thus, an in-depth analysis of the evolution of karoshi, from when the term was coined in the 1970s to present day, may provide invaluable insight into labor relations and labor culture in Japan.

Elzofri, Thafir. 2017. Japanese​ ​Immigration: Numbers​ ​Without​ ​Policies.

Immigration in Japan has not always been a topic of discussion politically or socially. But, more recently, Japan has seen an increase in the number of immigrants entering the country, which begs the question: why is that? The goal of this paper is to answer the following question related to immigration policy in Japan: Why has there been an increase in migrants and migrant workers in Japan when Japanese Immigration policy has been largely the same? There has been, and continues to be, tough restrictions on immigration. As the quote in the opening of this paper suggests, Abe believes that immigration to any country is destabilizing. But, does Japan need immigrants?

Greenberg, Elisa. 2017. From Brothels to Bilateralism: The Future of Japan-South Korea Relations, and why there is Reason for Hope.

In December of 2015, Japan and South Korea reached a formal settlement over the issue of “comfort women”: Korean women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese army during World War II.  Japan apologized and made a payment of $8.3 million, and South Korea promised they would regard the issue as closed and refrain from criticizing Japan for its past actions.  This deal marked a turning point in a Japanese narrative that had long minimized and even denied the abuse of these women.  However, did this deal lead to an improvement in Japan-South Korea relations?  A chronological analysis reveals that relations have indeed improved, but that this improvement is part of a larger trend of diplomacy.  Rather than serving as a critical juncture, the agreement on comfort women is part of the overall trend of warmer, more normalized relations between the two countries.  This trend started before the agreement was finalized and has continued to steadily persist through recent years.  Changing demographics, South Korea’s domestic political climate, and the current geopolitical landscape give reason to believe that relations will continue along this upward trend.

Jacobs, Jared. 2015. Sumo and Baseball’s Popularity in Japan

In Japan, baseball, a sport of foreign origin, has grown in popularity, while sumo, the Japanese national sport, has been decreasing.  This paper plans to outline the ways in which both modernization and globalization have impacted the popularities of both sumo and baseball within Japan.  Through factors such as changes in health standards, traditions, economic stability, television, and attitudes towards corruption, the popularity of sumo has decreased, while baseball’s popularity has increased.  First this paper will describe the histories of both sports within the nation in order to provide a basis for how the sports have progressed and fluctuated in popularity.  After discussing both sports’ histories, this paper then will lay out the arguments for sumo’s decrease in popularity before discussing the arguments for baseball’s increase in popularity.  After providing the arguments for both sports, the paper will then address what actions sumo should and has taken in order to improve its declining popularity.

Li, Lang Wen Amanda. 2015.  Why and how did Japan’s sex industry continue to operate and even thrive to this day despite increased regulations and restrictions placed on the industry, especially during the postwar period?

Despite the increase in legislation against the sex industry in the postwar period, the industry continues to operate and even thrive to this day. This paper seeks to understand why and how the industry continues to grow despite apparent increases in legal regulation and restrictions. By looking at the different layers that lie beneath Japan’s multi-faceted sex industry, this paper will argue that while there are inherent legal loopholes within the legislation that enables the industry to continue operating and thriving, the permissibility and exploitability of these loopholes are generated by the need to maintain the social and economic status quo by merely appeasing the West and certain sectors of the public through passing legislation, the social and moral tolerance, place, significance and necessity of sexuality and the sex industry in Japan, the economic incentives and forces of supply and demand, as well as the issue of nationalism and the protection of Japan’s people against US foreign troops.

O’Connor, Aniello. 2015. Japan’s militarization: the reactionary and proactive reason for Abe’s fourth arrow

The United States occupied Japan after its World War Two surrender and dismantled the Japanese military that had dominated the continent for centuries. Today, the US continues to be responsible for Japanese security and retains troops on Japanese soil. But, after the Cold War, China has continued to grow economically and militarily causing serious concern amongst the Japanese elite. The Japanese people are split on whether to re-militarize or continue to possess limited capability to defend themselves. Japanese students and populations under thirty are overwhelmingly against the idea of militarism while the aging populous is acceptant of the bills. Prime Minister Abe has spearheaded the campaign for a re-militarization that many believe is unconstitutional. So, why is Japan changing its national security policy now after twenty years of economic stagnation rather than in 2000 after it reached economic superpower status? The paper will not focus on the constitutionality of the matter, but rather the reasons for Japan’s militarization campaign and both sides of the argument.

Queenan, Michael. 2017. The Japanese Microgrid Experience: The Development of Expertise Pre-Fukushima.

The Tohoku earthquake and subsequent Fukushima meltdown reminded Japan of their dire energy security problem. After the Sendai Microgrid’s success during the disaster, the ability for microgrids to improve Japan’s energy security has become a topic of discussion. However, Japan was a world leader in Microgrids before 2011 and the subsequent heightened energy security awareness. This paper explores how and why Japan became a leader in Microgrids. Ultimately, Japan was able to become a leader in microgrids because of Japan’s supremacy in renewable energy technology developed after the second oil crisis, the Japanese energy utility oligopoly’s lobbying efforts against large-scale renewable energy projects, the Kyoto Protocol, and Japanese citizens’ emphasis on the local community.

Rao, Monica. 2017. “America’s Game” in Japan.

Baseball holds a special place in American sports history as the nation’s ‘quintessential game.’ While other sports such as football or basketball may have now have larger associated economic markets, the cultural values associated with baseball are still the strongest. Given this association, I seek to understand why baseball became so popular in Japan, a country with differing foundational values. Additionally, I will address the question of why Japan now produces many of the top players in the MLB.

Reed, Chris. 2017. How​ ​Japanese​ ​Video​ ​Games​ ​Captivated​ ​the​ ​World.

This paper argues that Japan’s postwar trade regime gave them an advantage in their abilities to export and distribute video games and consoles. Japan’s tech sector isn’t known for its innovation, and that’s exactly why it came to lead the industry. While the U.S. was busy producing games that could best be described as “demonstrative” of the technology it was producing, Japanese video games embraced the rich story telling tradition of manga, thus giving them an advantage over domestic titles in the U.S. That’s where the secret of Japan’s video game industry lies, in selling a combination of fantasy and cutting edge technology. All of this would allow Japan to establish itself as a video game powerhouse, bringing Japanese culture and stories into the households of the U.S.

Saetang, Marcia. 2017. Why Do Love Hotels Exist in Japan? – the Historical, Cultural, and Political.

This paper explores the historical importance of love hotels while highlighting the factors that have allowed love hotels to prevail and determine if they will be sufficient in keeping these industries in place.

Zaman, Saarim. 2015. Exploring the Politics of the Yakuza: Looking Beyond the Criminal

Japan’s organized crime syndicates, collectively known as the yakuza, have had longstanding and well-documented ties to Japan’s postwar bureaucratic and political elite. Politicians belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan’s oldest postwar political party, have frequently associated themselves with yakuza gang members. The 2009 election cycle, consisting of the 2007 House of Councillors and the 2009 House of Representative elections of the Diet, marked a breakdown of these relations, leading to a swap of yakuza allegiances to the opposition, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). This paper attempts to tie the LDP’s political failures during the 2009 election cycle to a breakdown of yakuza-LDP relations due to a number of factors. By tracking the trajectory of the yakuza since World War II, through two specific Japanese time periods, the “economic miracle period” that lasted until the 1980s and the “lost two decades” of the 1990s and the 2000s, the yakuza emerge as a quasi-political party, possessing characteristics akin to a political entity attempting to form coalitions with the dominating Japanese parties to pursue specific interests. Hence, the yakuza have a certain degree of sway in Japanese electoral politics, and yakuza backing of a certain political movements could predict possible future outcomes.

Sun, Zhaoyu. 2017. Taisho Democracy

During the Taisho Period, Japan underwent a series of political changes that were collectively known as the Taisho Democracy. At this time, the partial political system arose, liberalism emerged in the country, and the diet had more power than it had in the Meiji era, when the strongmen had been the decision makers. In the Taisho era, social movement also bloomed in both mainland Japan and its colonies (mainly Korea and Taiwan), and a civil society gradually developed, marked by increased citizen involvement in political affairs. However, the democratization and liberalization of Japan did not last long; the nation soon slipped into a militaristic and authoritarian state with a strong sense of nationalism and expansionism. What were the factors that prevented Japan undergoing further democratization?