Book Break: “Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan.” Speakers: Jeff Kingston (ed.) and Lawrence Repeta
"Critical Issues" features 22 chapters and contributors addressing the overall political environment and social questions in Japan ranging from the crises of population decline, school bullying, and minority issues to essays on the international dynamics of Japan's economic and political life and energy controversies in the wake of the 3.11 nuclear crisis. In the event, the editor and one contributor, i.e. Jeff Kingston and Lawrence Repeta, will come to the Club to discuss the issues.
Editor Kingston will focus on evolving energy politics since the three meltdowns in 2011 and explain why restarts of nuclear reactors, and export of nuclear technology and components, have become possible. Instead of pulling the plug on nuclear energy, the Abe government has reinstated it in the new national energy strategy. Given that polls indicate persistent opposition to nuclear energy by a vast majority of Japanese, and little support for restarting reactors, Kingston examines why the government is defying public opinion and why anti-nuclear politicians fared poorly in recent elections.
Contributor Repeta will describe the "rule of law" in Japan and especially the role of the Supreme Court in establishing a legal framework for ongoing changes in Japanese society. He will focus on some sharp political disputes that have found their way into the courts. Are teachers required to bow before the Hinomaru flag and sing the 19th Century hymn to a divine Emperor as part of their duties? Can Zainichi Korean residents born and raised in Japan who speak only the Japanese language ascend to positions of authority based on merit?
Kingston is professor of history and Director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, has edited two books on the 3.11 disasters, authored Contemporary Japan (2nd ed. 2013) and writes a weekly column for the Japan Times.
Repeta is a professor on the law faculty of Meiji University in Tokyo. He has served as a lawyer, business executive, and law professor in Japan and the United States. He is best-known in Japan as the plaintiff in a landmark suit decided by the Supreme Court of Japan in 1989 that opened Japan's courts to note-taking by courtroom spectators.
The library committee is offering a cocktail party - "Meet the Author" - starting at 6:15 pm. Followed by dinner at 6:45pm (Main dish: Roasted Pork). Drinks can be ordered on a cash basis from the bar in the room. Book Break charges 2,100 yen (including tax) for the event. Non-members eligible to attend may pay in cash.
Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or on the FCCJ website. To help us plan proper seating and food preparation, please reserve in advance, preferably by noon of the day of the event. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. Reservations cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will be charged in full.
The talk will be in English.