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Analysing social policy concepts and languageComparative and Transnational Perspectives$
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Daniel Béland and Klaus Petersen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447306443

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447306443.001.0001

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Conceptual development of welfare and social policy in Japan

Conceptual development of welfare and social policy in Japan

(p.193) TEN Conceptual development of welfare and social policy in Japan
Analysing social policy concepts and language

Toshimitsu Shinkawa

Yuki Tsuji

Policy Press

This chapter analyzes the development of social policy language in postwar Japan. In the reconstruction era following the end of the World War II, welfare bureaucrats and experts called for a universal welfare state, but institutional legacies and partisan politics (politics of credit-claiming) developed occupationally fragmented social insurance programs complemented by firm specific welfare. The welfare state, however, remained a goal to attain during the period of rapid economic growth. The end of “Golden Thirty Years” changed the image of the welfare state drastically in Japan. The welfare state was criticized as a main cause of the so-called “European” or “English” disease, which meant economic stagnancy with big government. To avoid the “disease,” the Japanese-style welfare society was formulated as a goal of welfare policy. The Japanese-style welfare society was renamed as a welfare society with economic viability, which was employed efficiently in the administrative reform of the 1980s to review social security programs and restrain social spending. In the 1990s, gender equality became a key term to promote women’s labor-force participation and expand family care support programs. Entering in our new century, the idea of structural reform dominated political discourse.

Keywords:   Japan, Japanese-style welfare state, welfare state, welfare society, social policy, administrative reform, structural reform, gender equality

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