Current Issues in Japan II

Numbering Code U-LAS07 10004 LE31 Year/Term 2021 ・ Second semester
Number of Credits 2 Course Type Lecture
Target Year All students Target Student International students
Language English Day/Period Thu.5
Instructor name SAKODA SAYAKA (Part-time Lecturer)
Outline and Purpose of the Course The primary purpose of this class is to deepen our understanding of a variety of issues in Japan.
Japan is the world’s third-largest economy and can be categorized as one of the world's most prosperous nations. However, there are many seemingly intractable challenges that the country and people are facing. Throughout this class, we will cover a wide variety of these issues that Japan is currently facing.
During this course, participants will learn about the low birth rate, the aging society, marriage, divorce, gender, economic inequality, labour issues, poverty, Hikikomori, discrimination social exclusion, medical services, and other aspects of the country.
The course consists of lecture-based instruction followed by guided discussion and short and final essay.
At the end of each class, students are expected to discuss the lecture topics and consider policies.
Course Goals The primary goal of this class is that the students could deepen their understanding as followings:
1. Based on statistical data and official documents, analyzing the social issues in current Japan by using the methods of economics and sociology.
2. Comparing Japanese society's characteristics and social problems in modern Japan with those of other countries.
Schedule and Contents The tentative Schedule is as follows. However, it may be changed according to the progress of the class and request by students.
Population Issues
Week 1) Introduction
Week 2) The Population Pyramid and its Transition
Week 3) Institutional Design for Low Fertility and Aging Society
Week 4) Marriage and Non-marriage. (Mid-term essay1)
Gender Issues
Week 5) History of Women's Empowerment in Society
Week 6) Division of Labor in the Household: Comparison with other countries
Week 7) Gender Consciousness and Marriage
Week 8) Divorce/Sexual Infidelity Behavior Economic Disparities
Week 9) Japan's Economic Disparities (1)
Week 10) Japan's Economic Disparities (2)
Week 11) Economic Efficiency and Income Redistribution Policies
Week 12) Students Presentation (Mid-term essay2)
Labour Issues and Poverty
Week 13) Labour patterns in Japan (non-regular employment, freeters, and NEETs) and its problems
Week 14) Social Exclusion, Hikikomori
Week 15) Discrimination and Social Inclusion
Week 16) Feedback
Evaluation Methods and Policy Mid-term essay:30%, Final essay:70%
Course Requirements This class is limited to international students. No prerequisites are required. It would be appreciated if you are interested in and committed to learning about Japan's current issues and comparing them with the mother country.
Study outside of Class (preparation and review) Review the contents of the lectures and prepare for the essay (a short mid-term and final essay)
Textbooks Textbooks/References Handouts will be distributed at each class.