Social and Industrial Policy Change in Italy and Japan
Edited by Hideko Magara and Stefano Sacchi
Chapter 8: Beyond familialism? Welfare regime transformation in Japan
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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