ASIA 2023 - Japan Today: Politics & Governance

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

Japan Today focuses on post-war Japanese political development. It provides students with an appreciation of the workings of the Japanese political and policy making system, governance issues and some key current social issues with which political leaders in Japan need to grapple and find solutions. It also assists students to apply concepts and methods (especially those of political science) to a matured industrialised and democratic country in Asia. While Japan Today is designed to provide students of Asian and international studies some essential conceptual and analytical tools for understanding politics in a foreign country, it also serves as an introduction to contemporary Japan. This insight will be of interest to a wide range of students, especially those whose future jobs might be related to Asian issues. The course covers political developments in post-war Japan and tackles the issues of who governs Japan and how transparent and liberal its democratic institutions are. Students in this course are eligible to participate in a 10-day study-abroad program, Gateway Japan, during the mid-semester break instead of attending workshops in weeks 7-12. The program is offered by Tottori University, and provides a rare opportunity to study sustainability outside of western and urban frames of reference, while experiencing the lush spring of rural Japan.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ASIA 2023
    Course Japan Today: Politics & Governance
    Coordinating Unit Centre for Asian Studies
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of level 1 undergraduate study
    Course Description Japan Today focuses on post-war Japanese political development. It provides students with an appreciation of the workings of the Japanese political and policy making system, governance issues and some key current social issues with which political leaders in Japan need to grapple and find solutions.

    It also assists students to apply concepts and methods (especially those of political science) to a matured industrialised and democratic country in Asia. While Japan Today is designed to provide students of Asian and international studies some essential conceptual and analytical tools for understanding politics in a foreign country, it also serves as an introduction to contemporary Japan. This insight will be of interest to a wide range of students, especially those whose future jobs might be related to Asian issues.

    The course covers political developments in post-war Japan and tackles the issues of who governs Japan and how transparent and liberal its democratic institutions are.

    Students in this course are eligible to participate in a 10-day study-abroad program, Gateway Japan, during the mid-semester break instead of attending workshops in weeks 7-12. The program is offered by Tottori University, and provides a rare opportunity to study sustainability outside of western and urban frames of reference, while experiencing the lush spring of rural Japan.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Purnendra Jain

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Use conceptual tools to analyse Japan’s contemporary politics and society
    2 Understand key political and social issues that confront contemporary Japan
    3 Understand background and context to analyse Japan’s politics and society
    4 Write an academic essay incorporating a conceptual framework supported by empirical evidence


    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1 2 3
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    4
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1 2 3
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is no prescribed textbook for this course. The following books are recommended for a rounded understanding of Japan’s political and social developments in recent times. Workshop discussions will be based on these books and the essential weekly readings.

    The Barr Smith Library holds multiple copies of these books and one copy of each is placed on reserve.

    Jeff Kingston (ed.) Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan, Routledge. 2014.

    Purnendra Jain and Brad Williams (eds) Japan in Decline: Fact or Fiction?  2011. UK: Global Oriental/Brill.

    Asia Program Special Report, Japanese Politics Reform: Progress in Process, No 117, January 2004. Available at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/japanese-political-reform-progress-process

    Where possible, readings will be available in PDF format on MyUni. You may need to access some of the readings through the Barr Smith Library.

    Recommended Resources
    These will be available via MyUni upon enrolment.
    Online Learning
    The course outline and weekly lecture recordings/slides will be available on MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course comprises of lectures supplemented by workshops which will develop material covered in lectures. Various modes of learning are used to make the subject academically engaging. The aims of the course are to develop student’s written and oral skills.

    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    1 x 1-hour lecture per week 12 hours per semester
    1 x 2-hour workshop per week 24 hours per semester
    6 hours reading per week 72 hours per semester
    2 hours research per week 24 hours per semester
    2 hours assignment preparation per week 24 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester


    Learning Activities Summary
    Schedule
    Part 1: Who Governs Japan?
    Week 1 Post-war Political Restructuring
    Week 2 Party Politics – From LDP Long-term rule to a competitive party environment?
    Week 3 Parliament, Elections and Legislators – Change and continuity
    Week 4 The Prime Minister – Leader or follower?
    Week 5 The Bureaucracy and interest groups– still dominant?
    Part 2: Issues of Governance
    Week 6 Local Governance – autonomous or dependent?
    Week 7 Civil Society: NGOs/NPOs (a new domestic and international force?)
    Week 8 Global Governance (peacekeeping and peacemaking as example)
    Part 3: Current Political/Social Issues
    Week 9 Population, Aging and Social Welfare – growing pains
    Week 10 Energy, Environment and climate change – leader or laggard?
    Week 11 Education – what’s wrong?
    Week 12 Media – Agent of Change?
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The Small Group Discovery Experience in Japan Today involves work done in groups within the workshop when students work together to tackle some key questions regarding Japan.

    Small Group Discovery/Workshop
    Activity: Total
    20%

    Part 1:
    Attendance 6

    Part 2:
    Group tasks 6

    Part 3:
    Evidence of Readings: 4

    Part 4:
    Evidence of research 4

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome
    Class presentation Formative and Summative 15% 1-3
    Class contribution Formative and Summative 20% 1-3
    Quiz/test Summative 15% 1-3
    3000 word essay Summative 50% 4
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students are expected to attend at least 80% percent of lectures and workshops. Medical or other supporting documentation may be required for non-attendance.
    Assessment Detail
    Class presentation: students will make a presentation on a topic of their choice from a list provided in class - 15% weighting.

    Class contribution: students will take part in active discussion and critical commentary based on weekly readings - 20% weighting.

    Quiz/test: this will consist of some multiple choice questions and short answers to test students' learning throughout the course - 15% weighting.

    3000 word essay: students will submit an essay on a topic chosed from a list provided in class - 50% weighting.

     

    Submission
    Assignments must be submitted electronically via MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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