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Public Seminar - NAGADORO: Rural Life after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Public Seminar - Always on and connected: young people and their mobile social media use in Japan, the US, and the UK
Public Seminar: Economic Policy and the Welfare State in Japan and the UK new
Japanese Studies Seminar in Alsace: Call for Participation!

Public Seminar - NAGADORO: Rural Life after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster   org

Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 2011, Prof Tom Gill (Meiji Gakuin University) has made some 26 field trips to Nagadoro, a tiny hamlet that has absorbed some of the highest levels of radiation in Fukushima prefecture.  During the course of these field trips Prof Gill has got to know the people of Nagadoro as they undergo an agonizing series of trials and tribulations.  In this special public seminar he tells their story and offers a glimpse of what life is really like for the residents of the nuclear disaster zone.  Joining Prof Gill in discussion will be Prof Ian Neary from the University of Oxford.

 

Abstract

The Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 will continue to affect millions of people for decades to come. The tremendous scale and complexity of this catastrophic event make it almost impossible to comprehend what is really going on in Fukushima. Any researcher must contend with the widely varying levels of radiation, the differing conditions for return to evacuated zones, the mixed fortunes of the decontamination programmes, the massive variation in compensation payments and many other challenges. I long since realized that my only hope of keeping abreast of events was to focus very tightly on a single small community that I could get to know reasonably well through a long series of field trips. That community is Nagadoro. Nagadoro is a tiny hamlet of 71 households, on the southern edge of Iitate village. After 3.11, it absorbed more radiation than any other hamlet in the village, and it is currently totally evacuated and barricaded with locked gates and sentries on all the four roads that lead into it. In three years and 26 field trips, I have slowly got to know the people of Nagadoro as they undergo an agonizing series of trials and tribulations. By telling their story, I hope to offer a glimpse of what life is really like for the residents of the nuclear disaster zone.


Date: 4 September 2014 from 6.30pm
Venue:

The Japan Foundation, London


This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please e-mail your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to event@jpf.org.uk

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Public Seminar - Always on and connected: young people and their mobile social media use in Japan, the US, and the UK   org

Smartphone use has seen a meteoric rise in the past few years. Indeed, it is now hard for most of us, especially young people living in cosmopolitan urban centres, to imagine a world without the smartphone – and, for that matter, without the social media apps it supports such as Twitter, Facebook and LINE. But how do people in different parts of the world use their smartphones? What do they share cross-culturally – and what do they choose not to share? Do cultural differences really matter when the technology is the same?

In this public seminar, Professor Toshie Takahashi (Waseda University) will present findings from a comparative study of digital media use amongst young people in Japan, the US and the UK, focusing on their practices of connectivity with intimate and distant others through social media on smartphones. Joining Takahashi to discuss these findings will be Dr Chris Davies, joint convenor of the Learning and New Technologies Research Group at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. 


Date: 11 September 2014 from 6.30pm
Venue:

The Japan Foundation, London


This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please e-mail your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to event@jpf.org.uk

 

Image by Lee Chapman

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Public Seminar: Economic Policy and the Welfare State in Japan and the UK   org

In this public seminar political scientists Prof Nobuhiro Hiwatari and Prof Junko Kato from the University of Tokyo join us to discuss their latest research into social policy reforms during financial crises, and tax politics and the welfare state.

 

Abstracts

Are Neo-Liberal Reforms Undemocratic? Evidence from the OECD and cases from the UK and Japan  

Prof Nobuhiro Hiwatari, University of Tokyo

In this paper I provide a new way of addressing whether spending cuts and social policy reforms are undemocratic.  Although measures that weaken market protection and social safety nets are opposed by organized interests and are unpopular with the voters, what if they reflect the position of the democratically elected legislature and not just the incumbent government? To show this is a possibility, I hypothesize that, when faced with global recessions, party leaders competing for power must show that they have viable plans to revive the economy, and as such, they have strong incentives to persuade the median voter that such reforms are unavoidable in order to stabilize the economy and assure international investors.  Evidence from 20 OECD countries shows that the major left and right parties tend to move rightward during global recessions, but not so much leftward during economic recoveries with the rise of economic inequality. In addition, I show that spending cuts do represent the policy position of the legislative centre rather than the government centre. The validity of the argument is further demonstrated by examining the cases of Japan and the UK.

 

Taxation and the Welfare State: Japan in a Comparative Perspective   

Prof Junko Kato, University of Tokyo

Since the 1980s, the institutionalization of regressive taxes for effective revenue-raising during a period of high growth has helped industrial democracies resist welfare state backlash. Building on this observation, I argue that the funding capacity of a welfare state is path-dependent on a revenue shift from progressive to regressive taxation. Tax politics is a critical intervening factor. Japan has been regarded as a proto-typical example in which the government failed to introduce a strong revenue-raising machine during a period of high economic growth. Today, Japan has again accumulated a massive government debt that is greater than twice its GDP and recently managed to increase consumption tax rates (from 5 to 8 %) for the first time in seventeen years. Strong opposition to tax increases in Japan appears puzzling considering its relatively low tax level and extremely high debt compared with other industrial democracies. Yet, it is consistent with a comparative analysis of tax politics in mature welfare states. I will explain the current situation in Japanese tax politics in comparison with other industrial democracies, focusing especially on European countries. 


Date: 17 September 2014 from 6.30pm
Venue:

The Japan Foundation, London


This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please e-mail your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to event@jpf.org.uk

 

Image: ©Asher Isbrucker 

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Japanese Studies Seminar in Alsace: Call for Participation!   org

Centre Européen d'Etudes Japonaises d'Alsace (CEEJA) and the Japan Foundation are now accepting applications for participation in Japanese Studies Seminar: Tokyo(東京) scheduled for 22 and 23 September, 2014 at CEEJA, in Kientzheim, France. The official language of the seminar will be JAPANESE.

This seminar aims to encourage networking among young researchers on Japan in Europe and further promote Japanese Studies in Europe.

Participants will join a two-day intensive workshop in the cozy and intimate atmosphere of CEEJA's facility in Kientzheim where they will present and discuss their current research projects with fellow participants and guest mentors from Japan and the USA.

The theme of this year’s seminar will be “Tokyo (東京).”  We are calling for applications from young researchers in Europe specializing in politics, history, sociology, literature, the arts, language, philosophy, economics, architecture, religion, etc. 

The deadline for applications is 30 June, 2014.

 

Please see the attached file 'Japanese Studies Seminar in Alsace' for further details including eligibility and application procedures. 


Date: 22 September 2014 - 23 September 2014
Venue:

Centre Européen d'Etudes Japonaises d'Alsace (CEEJA), Kientzheim, France

Download Japanese Studies Seminar in Alsace_

 

    

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