Social Welfare Policy in Japan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter surveys main topics and debates related to the Japanese welfare state. For a long time, scholars disagreed on the basic facts about Japan’s postwar welfare state. Some said it was too small, other said it was not. This chapter solves this mystery by introducing the concept of functional equivalents. It explains how social welfare programs and their functional equivalents had become important components of the so-called Japanese model of capitalism in the postwar period. Once the new socioeconomic conditions that arose in the 1990s (demographic aging, economic stagnation, and financial liberalization), pressures for change intensified. The chapter demonstrates how the electoral context had set the political parameters on welfare politics in Japan differently before and after the 1994 electoral reform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Japanese Politics
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780190050993
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Aging
  • Child care
  • Electoral rules
  • Gender
  • Globalization
  • Japan
  • Pension
  • Social policy
  • Welfare state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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