Junior Research Programs

Political and Social Dynamics of Crisis and Innovation in Japan, Asia and the World

Program Theme

Facing globalization, many advanced countries struggle to readjust their social, economic and political institutions to address the challenges imposed by financial crises, shrinking populations, and global power shifts. East Asia’s economic growth has become a major driving force of global change. As an economically and technologically advanced society, Japan finds itself at the intersection of these East Asian and global developments. Thus, understanding Japan’s policy choices is critical for understanding the future of East Asia and the world. As Japan seeks to define its role and responsibilities in global affairs, two decades of low economic growth, rapid demographic change, and the implications of the 11 March 2011 triple disaster have generated a sense of national decline. This project revisits these notions of decline and demonstrates how discourses on crisis and decline have been a crucial force for innovation and the reform of public policy institutions. To show how fears of national decline in the past and the present shape – and are shaped – by social and political transformations, this project brings together scholars of political science, economics, sociology, media and cultural studies, and history.


Roundtable: Japan as ‘Number Three?’: Revisiting Academic and Public Discourses on Japan’s ‘Lost Decades’
(February 8, 2018)

Workshop: Political and Social Dynamics of Crisis and Innovation in Japan, Asia and the World
(February 9, 2018)


Sebastian Maslow
(Research Associate, Graduate School of Law, Tohoku University, Japan)

Christian Wirth
(Adjunct Research Fellow, Griffith University Asia Institute, Australia)

Paul O’Shea
(Associate Professor, Centre for East- and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden)

Ra Mason
(Sasakawa Lecturer in International Relations, School of Politics, Philosophy, and Language and Communication Studies, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom)

Poster  [May 11, 2017 Updated]

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In cooperation with  [May 11, 2017 Updated]

Research Center for Advanced Studies of Law and Policy, School of Law, Tohoku University