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A Comparative Study of Civil Societies in Japan and the United States


Leader Yutaka Tsujinaka (University of Tsukuba)
Researcher Robert Pekkanen (University of Washington)
Term April 2012 - March 2013
Research Outline

 In order to deepen mutual understanding about politics in Japan and the United States, it is necessary to understand politics at the level of civil society from both sides.
 Various social organizations intervene between individuals and society. The space in which social organizations are active is called civil society. The structure of civil society is configurated not only by the market and families, but also by the state (political society). That is why understanding the structure of civil society leads to understanding the structure of political society. Nevertheless, civil society in comparative perspective has remained largely unexplored in political science, let alone empirical survey data on civil societies across countries.
 The Japan Interest Group Study (JIGS) group based at the University of Tsukuba has carried out survey studies on civil societies in 14 different countries. For instance, as part of its comparative studies, the JIGS group has run surveys in Japan in 1997 and 2006-7. Consequently, Contemporary Japanese Civil Society and Interest Groups (2002) and Political Functions of Social Organizations in Contemporary Japan (2010) were published along with others. As for the case of the United States, surveys were conducted in 1999 and 2009-10. The most recent outcome of those surveys is a new book forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press.
In this academic year (2012-13), the JIGS group plans to analyze similarities and differences between Japan and the United States by comparing the survey results from the two countries. More specifically, by comparing the findings included in the publications of our studies on Japan and the United States, we analyze the relationship between civil society organizations and political parties, political behavior, and lobbying among others.


Leader Yutaka Tsujinaka (University of Tsukuba)
Researcher Robert Pekkanen (University of Washington)
Term April 2012 - March 2013
Achievements Outline

 In order to promote mutual understanding about politics in Japan and the United States, we have carried out survey studies at the level of civil society.
 In the United States, we have proceeded with our analyses on the surveys we carried out on civil society organizations in 1999 and 2009-2010. We have put together the drafts submitted for the Conference on Nonprofits and Advocacy that we organized at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in March 2011. We have signed a book contract with Johns Hopkins University Press in October 2012, and the book Nonprofits and Advocacy is forthcoming as a result.
 In Japan, we have investigated civil society organizations following the formation of the coalition government led by the Democratic Party of Japan in 2009 and the outbreak of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. First, we have interviewed personnel from 675 major organizations that are active nationwide and compared the results with those of three interviews conducted in the past (1980, 1994, 2003-4). Second, we have investigated global environmental networks. We have interviewed personnel from political parties, bureaucracies, businesses, organizations, and NGOs and asked questions regarding how they cope with global warming following the Great East Japan Earthquake. We now plan to proceed with our analysis by comparing results with those of the first survey that we conducted in 1997. Third, we have surveyed civil society organizations in 11 prefectures including Tokyo and Miyagi. By comparing the results with those of two surveys from the past (1997, 2006-7), we are expecting to shed light on the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake on civil society in Japan.
 By the way, in our original plan, the goal for academic year 2012 was to run an international workshop as we conduct comparative analysis on Japan and the United States. However, there was a regime change in 2012 as the coalition government between the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito was taken over by another coalition government led by the Democratic Party of Japan. In addition, our plan was interrupted by the need to examine the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake on civil society in Japan. As a result, we’ve had to change our plan and postpone our comparative project on Japan and the United States for this academic year and beyond.

Activity Contents

In the United States:
・Produced the Final Draft of Steven R. Smith, Robert Pekkanen, and Yutaka Tsujinaka (eds.) Nonprofits and Advocacy(Johns Hopkins University Press, Forthcoming)including the Following Chapters: 1) “The Group Basis of City Politics” (Jeffrey M. Berry and Kent E. Portney, Tufts University); 2) “Shaping the Government-Nonprofit Partnership: Direct and Indirect Advocacy” (Elizabeth T. Boris and Matthew Maronick with Milena Nikolova); 3) “Gender Identity and the Shifting Basis of U.S. Women’s Groups’ Advocacy, 1920-2000” (Kristin A. Goss, Duke University); 4) “Building a Political Voice for American Children: a Century of Organizing for Child Well-being”(Doug Imig, University of Memphis and the Urban Child Institute); 5) “Nonprofit Advocacy in the Nation’s Capital” (Carol J. De Vita, Milena Nikolova, and Katie L. Roeger, The Urban Institute); 6) “Enabling & Constraining Advocacy Practices through Human Service Networks” (Jodi Sandfort, University of Minnesota); 7) “Affirmative Advocacy in Hard Times: Representing Marginalized Groups in Times of ‘National Crisis’" (Dara Z. Strolovitch, University of Minnesota).

In Japan:
・Published Surveying Organizations: A Report (Preliminary Results) in March 2013 based on Interviews Conducted with 675 Major Organizations (April-August) including the Japan Business Federation and the Japan Trade Union Confederation among Others (http://cajs.tsukuba.ac.jp/2013/03/23-24.html).
・Surveyed Major Parties, the Central Government, Major Businesses, Organizations among Others for the Global Environmental Policy Network (November-March) and Planning to Publish the First Report in 2013.
・Surveyed 16,746 Civil Society Organizations from the Telephone Book (Yellow Pages: Organizations and Associations) (November-March) and Planning to Publish the First Report in 2013.
・Published Yutaka Tsujinaka (ed.) Group Politics in Contemporary Japan, a Special Issue of The Annuals of Japanese Political Science Association (2012-II) including the Following Articles Based on Our Past Surveys: 1) “Japanese Consumer Group System” (Takuya Inoue, Ibaraki University); 2) “The Political Process of Neoliberal Educational Reforms and Related Analytical Perspectives” (Hiroki Mori, Doshisha University); 3) “Interest Groups and Political Parties in Japan” (Shinsuke Hamamoto, Kitakyushu University); 4)“Interest Groups in the Disaster: the Affected Tohoku Area, Fishermen’s Cooperative Association, and the Special Zones for Disaster Recovery Fisheries” (Kazunori Kawamura, Tohoku University); 5) “How Interest Groups Changed Their Political Strategy in the Process of Deregulation” (Takao Akiyoshi, Chuo University); 6) “Examining the Political Influence of Large Companies and Citizens’ Groups: the Case of the Movement for Lowering the Maximum Interest Rate” (Ryunoshin Kamikawa, Osaka University); 7) “The Hierarchical Structure of Lobbying Tactics” (Hidehiro Yamamoto, Yamagata University); 8) “Understanding Collaboration between NPOs and Local Governments in Japan” (Haruya Sakamoto, Kansai University); 9) “Breaking Away from Civil Society without Citizens: the Transformation of Civil Society in Korea” (Yutaka Onishi, Kobe University); 10) “The Review on Interest Group Studies in the United States and Europe” (Mitutoshi Ito, Kansai University).
・Hosted a Joint Workshop for “A Comparative and Empirical Study of Structural Changes in Politics and Transformations in Pressure Groups, Policy Networks, and Civil Society in Japan since 2009” and a Working Group on Political Policy, Academic Investigation Committee on the Great East Japan Earthquake (Univ. of Tsukuba, 7 August 2012) with the Following Participants: Takao Akiyoshi, Kumamoto Univ.; Mitsutoshi Ito, Kansai Univ.; Ryunoshin Kamikawa, Osaka Univ.; Kazunori Kawamura, Tohoku Univ.; Yutaka Tsujinaka, Univ. of Tsukuba; Michio Muramatsu, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; Hiroki Mori, Doshisha Univ.; Yoshiaki Kubo, Univ. of Tsukuba; Joji Kijima, Univ. of Tsukuba.

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