Ph.D., OxfordComparative Politics
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My research examines the politics and foreign relations of Japan. I am currently working on two projects, an edited volume titled The Evolution of Japanese Party Politics (Toronto University Press, forthcoming) and a co-authored book on International Relations Theory and East Asia (Columbia University Press, forthcoming, with David Kang and Ming Wan). The first project explains how and why Japan has seen one of the two major parties in its party system shrink to fringe-party size and be replaced by a brand new party, the Democratic Party of Japan. Such major changes in the typically “frozen” party systems of advanced industrialized democracies are rare, so Japan’s experience sheds light on the forces that can disrupt such established systems.
The second project looks back at the major developments in East Asia’s foreign relations over the past century and assesses the degree to which various IR theories can explain these developments. This assessment of how IR theory conforms to the region’s actual experience serves as a basis for thinking about how theory should inform strategies for maintaining peace and stability in the region in the years ahead.
Three previous sole-authored books have focused on the forces shaping social and economic policy in Japan. These include Race for the Exits: The Unraveling of Japan’s System of Social Protection, (Cornell University Press, 2006), analyzing why Japan has been slow to modify policies and structures that have caused manufacturers to “exit” Japan via foreign direct investment and women to “exit” via decisions not to have children or not to continue in careers; Bargaining With Japan: What American Pressure Can and Cannot Do (Columbia, 1997), which examines the role played by foreign pressure in Japanese economic policymaking; and Education Reform in Japan (Routledge, 1991). Refereed articles growing out of these projects have been published in International Organization, Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of European Social Policy and the Journal of Japanese Studies (1991).