Governance in Japan
Date: June 13, 2023
Location: Internationales Begegnungszentrum (IBZ) München
Amalienstr. 38, 80799 Munich
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.
We acknowledge support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the SFB 1369 “Cultures of Vigilance” at LMU Munich for this workshop.
You can download the program here!