The Politics of Structural Reforms

The Politics of Structural Reforms

Social and Industrial Policy Change in Italy and Japan

Edited by Hideko Magara and Stefano Sacchi

For countries undertaking economic or political reform the case of Italy and Japan is both highly instructive and sobering. The Politics of Structural Reforms reveals what Italy and Japan gained and lost through a series of social and industrial reforms in the 1990s and 2000s, and why the changes they made in their policies have had little impact in softening the recent economic crisis.

Chapter 8: Beyond familialism? Welfare regime transformation in Japan

Toshimitsu Shinkawa

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy

Extract

Japan’s welfare regime has experienced various changes since the mid 1980s. Few studies, however, provide a theoretical perspective through which to grasp the whole picture of these changes or to understand how closely they are interrelated and how profoundly they have overhauled the Japanese welfare regime. A major reason behind such neglect is a heavy bias among Japanese social policy researchers toward practical problems, including fiscal sustainability. Granted the relevance of social policy research to actual policy making, this chapter aims to understand the interrelations of welfare reforms and clarify the meaning and significance of their trajectories in the broader context of welfare regime change. First, in discussing Esping-Andersen’s typology, a new typology is forged. By using two axes of de-commodification and de-familialization, the author adds the fourth type or familialism to Esping-Andersen’s three worlds of the welfare regime: social democracy, conservatism and liberalism (Esping-Andersen, 1990, 1999). Japan is classified under the fourth type of familialism with low levels of de-commodification and de-familialization.

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