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Workshop: Governance in Japan am 13.06.2023

13. Juni 2023 @ 13:00 - 18:00

Organizers: Celeste Arrington and Gabriele Vogt

Date: June 13, 2023

Location: Internationales Begegnungszentrum (IBZ) München
Amalienstr. 38, 80799 München

This workshop explores the diversity of tools of governance in Japan today. Historically, scholars noted how Japanese approaches to public policy and social control tended to rely on non-binding and cooperative “soft law” measures, such as administrative guidance (gyōsei shidō), strong social norms, and public enlightenment activities (keihatsu). In the new millennium, however, legalistic modes of governance have proliferated, involving more detailed legal clauses, formal sanctions, and more participatory policymaking procedures. New laws set legal caps on work hours, prohibited discrimination against disabled persons, mandated environmental impact assessments, required public comment periods, and obliged new or renovated schools to install barrier-free features. Often, such legalistic rules coexist alongside hortatory soft law measures. Moreover, subnational ordinances sometimes add stronger regulations (uwanose jōrei) or extend the scope (yokodashi jōrei) of national legal frameworks.

By comparing public policy tools across diverse issue areas, this workshop aims to take stock of the range of different forms of governance that exist in Japan today—from recommendations to exercise self-restraint (jishuku yōsei) to obligations to endeavor (doryoku gimu) to legally enforceable rules. We will discuss the following questions: Under what conditions are Japanese policymakers likely to adopt informal versus legalistic tools of governance? Why is public policy becoming more legalistic in some issue areas but not others? How do formal and informal governance approaches interact, whether productively or not? To what extent are citizens more involved in governance? What implications do the diverse tools of governance have for Japanese democracy?

Open to the public, pre-registration is required by June 11, 2023 Please register here:

We acknowledge support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the SFB 1369 “Cultures of Vigilance” at LMU Munich for this workshop.

Workshop Schedule:

13:00 Introductions
13:15 – 15:15 Panel: Governance Beyond State Actors
Chair: Wen-Wei Lan, LMU
Dual Characters – Emerging Patterns of Local Civic Self-Governance in Rural Japan
Hanno Jentzsch, Leiden University
The Yanbaru Model of Community Stores: A Case of “Third Place” Local Governance
Gabriele Vogt, LMU
The Revival of “Closed Country” Strategy: Japan’s Governance Tools in COVID-19
Sian Qian, LMU
New and Old Manners on the Train in Times of the Pandemic
Paul Kramer, LMU
Exploring Standards and Rulemaking in Japanese Care Robotics
James Wright, Alan Turing Institute
15:15 – 16:00 Coffee Break
16:00 – 18:00 Panel: The Changing Role of Legalism in Governance
Chair: Jane Sarah Khanizadeh, LMU
Japan’s Nuclear Disaster and the Politics of Safety Governance
Florentine Koppenborg, TUM
The Theory and Practice of Media Governance in Japan
Yosuke Buchmeier, LMU
Barrier-Free Reforms and Societal Demand for Legalistic Governance in Japan
Celeste Arrington, George Washington University
From Soft Law to Legal Pluralism: Japan’s Response to Hate Speech in Interaction between International, National, and Local Regulations
Ayako Hatano, Oxford
Same-Sex Marriage and Governance in Japan
Guy Baldwin, University of Cambridge
18:00 Concluding Remarks



13. Juni 2023
13:00 - 18:00
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IBZ München e.V.
Amalienstr. 38
München, Bayern 80799 Deutschland
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