Social Security in Contemporary Japan  book cover
1st Edition

Social Security in Contemporary Japan

ISBN 9780415855518
Published June 7, 2013 by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

The present study analyzes the livelihood security system of contemporary Japan in international comparison from a historical and gender perspective. It posits ‘livelihood security systems’ rather than ‘welfare states’ or ‘welfare regimes’ as its object of analysis to enter the role of non-governmental institutions and of governmental policies reaching beyond income transfers into vision.

Based on rich statistical materials, the evolution of Japan’s livelihood security system in recent decades is traced to reveal a rigid male breadwinner orientation increasingly out of step with social realities. The need for remedying the gender bias built into Japan’s social insurance schemes has been politically highlighted since the late 1990s, but legislative action has continued to be deferred.

The author argues that at present the livelihood security system of Japan is not only dysfunctional, but actually functioning in reverse, in a sense of furthering social exclusion. The study concludes with suggestions for a possible reconstruction of Japan’s social security system, arguing for an increased role of the ‘third sector’ or ‘social economy’ in livelihood security and care provision.

This book will appeal to scholars and students with an interest in social policy, welfare economics and gender studies, as well as Japanese politics and society.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Aims and Structure of this Book   Chapter 1: From welfare regimes to livelihood security systems   Chapter 2: The livelihood security systems approach   Chapter 3: The 1990s - Japan's lost decade   Chapter 4: Japan in international comparison at the turn of the century    Chapter 5: Taking Stock of the Koizumi reforms   Chapter 6: Beyond exclusion - building a cohesive society

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Mari Osawa is Professor at the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo.