The main purpose of this book is to revisit prevailing conceptions of the Japanese state―which tend to focus on bureaucratic dominance, party politics, and interest groups―and argue that these institutions cannot explain the extensive legal and political changes concerning women's and children’s human rights since the late 1990s. Instead, the author advances a constructivist approach to examine the impact of global human rights norms on Japan. This approach is exceptional in linking gender, children, and minority rights to Japanese norms. This book offers an up-to-date account of the changes since the 1990s. It also explores the issue of universalism versus cultural relativism within human rights and feminist debates. Instead of assuming that traditional Japanese culture is at odds with the individualistic and legalistic orientation of international human rights standards, the book discusses how Japanese civil society as well as state actors grapple with the rise of the individual, the new salience of law in resolving conflicts, the emergence of horizontal networks of cooperation, and the practice of “postnational citizenship.”
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“The author speaks with the authority of her extensive documentation, personal participation in symposia, seminars, workshops, and other human rights activities, and interviews with Japanese participants.”—CHOICE
“Gender and Human Rights Politics in Japan heightens our understanding of how thee international human rights movement has affected women’s and children’s issues in Japan.”—Journal of Japanese Studies
Jennifer Chan is Assistant Professor of Education at the University of British Columbia, having completed two years as a postdoctoral fellow in International Studies at Harvard. She is the author of Gender and Human Rights Politics in Japan (Stanford, 2004)
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