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
  • Gender discrimination
  • Immigration and ethnic minorities
  • Post-3/11 tsunami, earthquake and nuclear meltdown developments
  • Sino-Japanese relations

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.

part I|2 pages

Political environment

chapter 1|12 pages

Japanese politics

3Mainstream or exotic?

chapter 3|16 pages

Limiting fundamental rights protection in Japan

The role of the Supreme Court

chapter 4|12 pages

Civil society

Past, present, and future

chapter 5|14 pages

Japan’s contemporary media

part II|2 pages

Nuclear and renewable energy

chapter 6|13 pages

Revisiting the limits of flexible and adaptive institutions

74The Japanese government’s role in nuclear power plant siting over the postwar period

chapter 7|15 pages

Who controls whom?

Constraints, challenges and rival policy images in Japan’s postwar energy restructuring

chapter 8|13 pages

Japan’s nuclear village

Power and resilience

part III|2 pages

International dynamics

chapter 10|12 pages

Bad war or good war?

133History and politics in postwar Japan

chapter 11|13 pages

Japanese territorial disputes with Korea and China

Small islets, enduring conflicts

chapter 12|14 pages

Great expectations

Domestic Politics and the Russo–Japanese Northern Territories Dispute

chapter 13|11 pages

Okinawa today

Spotlight on Henoko

part IV|2 pages

Social dilemmas

chapter 15|12 pages

Reproductive rights in Japan

Where do women stand?

chapter 16|10 pages

Hiding in plain sight

Minority issues in Japan

chapter 17|12 pages

Mental health and therapy in Japan

Conceptions, practices and challenges

chapter 18|11 pages

Violence in schools

Tensions between ‘the individual’ and ‘the group’ in the Japanese education system

chapter 19|18 pages

Hidden behind Tokyo

Observations on the rest of Japan

part V|2 pages

Reforming Japan?

chapter 21|11 pages


Japan’s failure to internationalize

chapter 22|12 pages

What’s behind what ails Japan 1

chapter 23|11 pages

Whither Abe’s Japan?