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CJS Noon Lecture Series | Farmers in Flux: The Causes and Political-Economic Consequences of Japan’s Changing Agricultural Landscape

Thursday, November 5, 2015
5:00 AM
1636 School of Social Work Building

The political economy of Japanese agriculture is rapidly changing.  Engulfed in a deepening agricultural crisis that includes an acute shortage of farm successors (kokeisha), many farmers are now rebelling against the traditional agricultural cooperative system and learning how to adapt to market signals.  Meanwhile, the country’s notoriously powerful farm lobby is losing influence in the wake of electoral reform, declining commodity prices, and more open markets. As a result of these changes, new opportunities have opened up for proactive prime ministers to engage in unprecedented market-oriented reform.  I illustrate these points with evidence from recent fieldwork and with reference to the August 28, 2015 passage of coop reform legislation.

Patricia Maclachlan is associate professor of government and Asian studies and the Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Professor of Japanese Studies. She received her Ph.D. in political science and Japan studies in 1996 from Columbia University and spent one year as a research associate in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University. Maclachlan teaches courses on Japanese politics and foreign policy, East Asian political economies, and the international relations of the Asia Pacific.

Professor Maclachlan is the author of The People's Post Office: The History and Politics of the Japanese Postal System, 1871-2010(Harvard University Asia Center, 2011); Consumer Politics in Postwar Japan: The Institutional Boundaries of Citizen Advocacy(Columbia University Press, 2002); and a co-editor of and contributing author to The Ambivalent Consumer: Questioning Consumption in East Asia and the West (Cornell University Press, 2006). She has also written several articles and book chapters on consumer-related issues in Japan and the West, Japanese civil society, and on Japanese postal reform.

Patricia Maclachlan, Associate Professor of Government and Asian Studies, University of Texas-Austin