Previoues Entries

  • HOME
  • Previoues Entries
  • Vol. 11 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)

Previoues Entries

Vol. 11 The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi)


HOME > PUBLICATIONS > Early Journals > The Journal of Social Policy and Labor Studies (Shakai-seisaku Gakkai shi) (1999-2007)

Excellence, Justice, Taxation: Toward Unthinking Social Policies


In this paper, I attempt-to use the term coined by Wallerstein-“unthinking” (i.e. critically rethinking the tacit and persistent presuppositions of ) certain current public policies. For this purpose, I employ three sets of texts in particular.

The first set I consider is Yuichi SHIONOYA’s Economy and Morality (2002) and the subsequent debate that followed its publication. Shionoya adopts a subtle form of the perfectionist position and argues for social security reform in Japan, and the subsequent controversy concerns fundamental issues such as which ethic is suitable for the reconstruction of a welfare state: the ethic of care or the ethic of excellence.

The second set I consider is that of Jon ELSTER, which adopts an explanatory approach to social justice in Local Justice (1992), and that of Haruki MIYOSHI, which follows this line when proposing “the socialization of nursing care within concrete relationships”. I emphasize the significance of Miyoshi’s contrast between the socialization of caring powers and that of caring relationships.

The third set I consider is Liam MURPHY and Thomas NAGEL’s The Myth of Ownership (2002). They insist that societal fairness, rather than tax fairness, should be the value that guides tax policy. I suggest that their notion of “societal fairness” is compatible with the progressive expenditure tax system put forth by Toshiaki TACHIBANAKI.



The Basic Income Proposal and the Possibility of a New Social Policy

 Shuji OZAWA

A basic income(BI) is one that is unconditionally paid to all individuals on an individual basis, without a means test and work requirement. In other words, BI is a form of guaranteed minimum income that differs from those that now exist in a post-war welfare state on the grounds of being paid (1) to individuals rather than households; (2) irrespective of any income from other sources; and (3) without requiring the performance of any work.

As a matter of fact, as globalization progresses, life security under “full employment” is on the decline owing to an increase in unemployment, increase in the diversification and instability of the employment system, such as part-time labor and dispatch labor, aggravation of social exclusion, etc. The traditional male breadwinner model is becoming nonfunctional with the increase in the number of working women and the diversification of the family. Furthermore, the manner in which the “welfare state” depends on income redistribution based on economic growth that destroys the environment is approaching its limit. This implies that the 20th century premise that a post-war welfare state holds is swinging greatly on several sides of “labor,” “family,” and the “environment.”

Therefore, the above BI design is evaluated as an alternative proposal of a post-war welfare state and has been attracting a great deal of interest.



The Future of Work: Suggestions from Germany 


Since the 1990s, the future of work has been actively discussed in many of the developed countries. Discussions such as those of Jeremy Rifkin, the Roman Club, and Ulrich Beck have pointed out that the global IT economy possesses the possible contradiction of high productivity and high unemployment while simultaneously destroying traditional communities and democracy of citizens. They have proposed a future that would lay more emphasis on non-market social lives such as strong, community-based forces or voluntary circles. In order to revitalize society, the authors have unanimously expressed the need for fundamentally reorganizing the work system itself.

In Germany, these proposals are being taken seriously, and trials for the rearrangement of work are beginning. The primary concept in these proposals is the sovereignty of time throughout one’s life. Increasing the flexibility of work time has led not only to the flextime system of weekly work but also to the long-term work time account, which includes possible sabbaticals for retraining, child care, nursing, and so on. The intentional expansion of part-time work as a new type of normal labor relationship is thought to constitute a new social contract. It would make it possible for each individual to adjust their occupational and other activities according to their personal circumstances.

These trials are, however, facing pressure from the global economy. Despite this, new efforts for rearranging the future of work for the entire world are now in great demand by many institutions, unions, and NGOs, from which there is great potential for learning.



Can We Depart from the “Male Breadwinner” Model? : Gender-mainstreaming of Japan’s Social Policy System


Several incidents that have occurred since the end of 2002 suggest the possibility of Japan’s departure from the “male breadwinner” model of social policies. Firstly, the Koizumi cabinet decided in January 2003 that the special spouse deduction in the income tax system would be reduced as of January 2004. The report of the Tax Council submitted in June 2003 stated that the spouse deduction itself should be revised as well. Secondly, reform measures of the “third class insured” system in the National Pension Scheme have been proposed by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) and its advisory council. Thirdly, the “Specialist Committee on Gender Impact Evaluation and Assessment,” set up under the Council for Gender Equality in the Cabinet Office submitted a report in December, 2002 that proposed the reduction or abolishment of spouse deductions. With regard to the pension scheme and employment system, the Specialist Committee’s proposals are as follows: To require the third class insured person to somehow pay premiums and to curtail or abolish family allowances in the pay structure of private corporations. These incidents have not occurred coincidentally. This paper discusses the models of social policies in section two, traces policy developments in Japan since the 1980s in section three, and examines the significance of those recent incidents.



The formation process and current condition of the basic medical insurance scheme in China

Yang YU

Since the late 1990s, China has implemented a new social security system centering on a social insurance system to unite economic reform policy and reform of state-owned enterprises. Currently, four schemes coexist in the medical insurance system. They are as follows: The public expenditure medical insurance scheme, the employees’ medical insurance scheme, the basic medical insurance scheme, and a new rural cooperation medical health scheme. In cities, the public expenditure medical insurance scheme and the employees’ medical insurance scheme have functioned as the main schemes since the founding of P. R. China. Through the medical insurance system reform trial in the 1990s, the basic medical insurance scheme was implemented in 1999, and it is now becoming the maim system. This paper considers the changes in the Chinese medical insurance system and clarifies the formation process of the basic medical insurance scheme as well as its present condition. In addition, since I have limited space, I would like to leave the argument regarding the rural cooperation medical health scheme to other papers.



The Problems regarding Care Work in the Paradigm Shift in the Ethics of Dementia: From a Gender Perspective


With respect to the paradigm-shift in the ethics of care of old people with dementia, the degree of care that should be provided has been undergoing change. That is, so far, “care” implied labor on three physical levels: help in eating, bathing, and defecating. Recently, however, workers have been requested to be more sensitive when interacting with the aged and to be more considerate of their will and motivation. In other words, workers should secure a better “quality of life” for them. Therefore, it is all the more important for workers to develop their communication skills to be able to form a relationship with clients. Such a change has been progressing together with the so-called “progress of market on care,” in which workers willingly accept less payment. Consequently, the cost itself does not cover “emotional labor,” and the working condition becomes worse.

In this paper, I intend to elaborate on the following: ①The view of unit-care in the training curriculum and its social implications, ②the worker’s expectations regarding training and self-consciousness, ③the trainers’ views on gender and sexuality, and ④the working conditions in the field of “unit-care” (using narrative date gathered from participating trainees and interviewees).



The Welfare Mix in the Care of Older People: Reforms in the Health Care and Personal Care Systems

Makoto KONO

This paper attempts to broaden the understanding of the status quo in the Japanese welfare system by highlighting how unique policies ensure that the state plays only a marginal role in providing and financing care services. The care of older people is used as a case study to explore how this residual system has been developed and how it operates in practice. This study outlines the production of care in each welfare sector and shows the recent trends in the welfare mix. Due to the process of modernization, some important family functions have been removed from the family system and have been taken on by other sectors. The increase in care needs and the decrease in the capacity for informal care is an outcome of modernization in Japan.

In theory, therefore, family care work in the future will be further externalized, and responsibilities of care provision will be shifted to other sectors. However, the direction of this shift is affected to a great extent by political intentions. Under the present welfare reforms, the private sector will play a larger role as one that assumes externalized family care work. However, a large proportion of care responsibilities continuously lie with family members, and the significance of self-help is projected to increase in the Japanese welfare mix. This paper reveals the residual nature of long-term care policies and the various strategies aimed at minimizing the role of the public sector. It explores the recent development of several schemes that have encouraged private and informal activities in the field of care for older people.



Productive Welfare of the Kim Dae Jung (DJ) Government (1998-2003): Historical Implications of the Outstanding Tasks

Hye-kyung LEE

The Asian financial crisis that struck Korea in October 1997 was of an unprecedented severity, coming after decades of uninterrupted high growth. It was a manifestation of both the enormous power of the newly emerging global financial market based on the so-called Washington Consensus as well as its severe imperfections.

The DJ government was born amidst this crisis and it earnestly pursued broad reform projects in compliance with the structural adjustment requirements of the IMF to attain global standards in all spheres of business, finance, and the public sector. At the same time, it also pursued unprecedented comprehensive reform in social welfare, with the rhetoric of Productive Welfare. This was added to the two pillars of national development with which the DJ Government was launched; that is , the development of democracy and market economy was added as the third pillar of national development.

The DJ government made it clear that the practical and balanced development of democracy and a market economy was impossible without this third pillar of social welfare policies and programs. This paper analyzes the basic structure and strategies of the Productive Welfare of the DJ government and explores the tasks left for the Roh Moo Hyun government (2003-2008).



Women’s policies under the Kim Dae-Jung regime

Chin-sung CHUNG

Since the Park Chung-Hee regime established a range of women’s policies, including those on population, mobilization of female labor, and suppression of prostitution, the government’s stance toward women has leaned toward the promotion of women’s welfare. Following the economic crisis of 1997, the Kim Dae-Jung administration developed the so-called productive welfare policy in line with its goals of economic recovery. Women’s policies under Kim Dae-Jung were thus the products of these two streams: Women’s welfare and economic crisis management. This paper discusses the policies on women of the Kim Dae-Jung government in the following fields: Labor, welfare, sexual violence, women’s human rights, political participation, government organizations for women, and other legal and institutional developments. While labor and welfare issues were more directly influenced by Kim Dae-Jung’s productive welfare policy, other issues were approached as well, including women’s human rights, political participation, and legal and institutional fields. I also explore the relationship between women’s movements and gender politics. Finally, the results of this study point to the necessity for Kim Dae-Jung’s government to implement a more consistent and clear conceptualization and approach to women’s policies.



Neo-liberalism and Welfare policy: Korea’s experience of “Productive Welfare”

Sung-won KIM

The core of neo-liberalism discourses on today’s welfare issues lie in the incompatibility between market economy and welfare policies. Despite the recent sprouting of the neo-liberalist approach for the restructuring of the welfare state, a number of problems remain to be resolved. However, the so-called “productive welfare” concept, which originated under Korea’s IMF economic crisis, serves as an important clue in that it represents the “co-existence of a market economy and the movement toward a welfare state”. This paper aims at finding the implication that “Productive Welfare” has on the relation between a market economy and welfare policy by reviewing the concept of “Productive Welfare” and Korea’s experience of it.