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The New Politics of the Welfare State in a Developmental Context: Explaining the 1990s Social Care Expansion in Japan

  • Ito Peng
Part of the Social Policy in a Development Context book series (SPDC)

Abstract

The welfare state policy expansion in Japan in the 1990s has been some-thing of an oddity when one considers the significant economic pressures on the government to restrain fiscal spending, and the international trend of welfare retrenchment. This chapter examines the politics of welfare state expansion in Japan during the 1990s, and assesses the impacts of civil society engagement in public policy making in shaping social policy outcomes. The chapter consists of two main sections and a conclusion. The first section outlines the development of the Japanese welfare state policies in the light of political, economic and social factors that have affected the changes in state’s social policies. I argue that, although compelling, the developmental state view can offer only a partial explanation of welfare state development in Japan. The evidence for the developmental state seems strongest for the period up to the early postwar years. After the 1960s, however, the develop-mental state perspective becomes increasingly challenged by inconsistencies in social policy development. With increasing evidence of civil society engagements in shaping social policies and of politicians’ sensitivities to electoral trends at different times, I contend that it would be more fruitful to analyse the development of Japanese welfare state from the perspective of a gradual shift from a developmentalist to a more democratic and pluralistic political model.

Keywords

Social Welfare Welfare State Welfare Policy Coalition Government Child Allowance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© UNRISD 2005

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  • Ito Peng

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