Graduate Student Forum

Civic Groups and Japanese Local Assemblies’ Foreign Policies: A Panel Data Analysis of Resolutions Regarding North Korea (1993~2018)

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 | 12:15 - 13:00 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • Sohyung Lee Graduate School of xxx, The University of Tokyo
  • Kenneth McElwain Professor, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo

Over the last few years, Japanese prefectural assemblies have issued a considerable number of resolutions concerning North Korea. However, those numbers vary throughout the whole Japanese 47 prefectural assemblies. What accounts for such variation in the number of resolutions concerning North Korea that each legislative body adopts? What are the main factors influencing the local assemblies to adopt bills concerning North Korea? In order to explain the varying numbers of written opinion and resolution adoption across prefectures, this research empirically studies the impact of civic groups on local government using original panel data on the whole Japanese 47 prefectures from 1993 to 2018.

The findings from this research suggest that grassroots activism does affect and facilitate the adoption of bills by local legislative bodies. Local civic groups can exert influence in policy-making. Although it is too soon to generalize this study’s findings beyond this specific area, it can still contribute to a better understanding of the influence of grassroots activism concerning Japan’s North Korean policy more broadly. Also, it demonstrates that in order to understand Japan’s North Korean policy, it is necessary to pay attention to local politics as well.