As we know by now, Japan is far from being a homogenous country, with inequalities in the areas of, for example, income, gender, and national, ethnic, and social minorities. In this presentation, I focus on how Japan’s law makers approach these inequalities. In general, liberal countries prefer to implement regulatory policies such as affirmative action, whereas traditional welfare states lie their focus mainly on monetary redistribution (social security, taxes). Equality-oriented policies (so-called EOP) fall into four different groups and include very different areas – from constitutional law to tax, labour, and social law. While there are only very few so-called “Group one EOP” (e.g. affirmative action) in Japan, there is a broad variety of “Group four EOP” (e.g. public counseling services, education programmes), suggesting Japan to be close to traditional European welfare states, like France and Germany, yet with some significant differences. These include models, among others, like doryoku gimu, namely the obligation to make an effort to comply, instead of affirmative action for, for example, the discriminated group/person.
By analysing the legal situation (laws, litigation, ordinances, decrees, etc.) for each of the four EOP-groups, the research project aims to explain which kind of “equality” is pursued in Japan.
DAN TIDTEN grew up in Japan and Germany. He studied law at the University of Munich and the University of Kyoto, and is currently PhD student at the University of Berlin. His dissertation project is part of Alexander Graser's project “Regimes of Equality” at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin. For his research, he stayed at the University of Tokyo for six months in 2008. Currently he is on a fellowship at the German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo (DIJ).