The Journal of Japanese Studies



The Political Economy of Postwar Family Policy in Japan:
Economic Imperatives and Electoral Incentives

In recent years, Japanese family policy has shifted from policies that reinforce traditional gender roles to policies that enable women to balance work and family. This article focuses on the political economy of maternity leave, parental leave, and childcare policy in the postwar period prior to changes in the 1990s. The analysis reveals that while traditional views of women’s caregiving roles dominated the political agenda, they were subject to a more flexible interpretation when the economic needs of the family or society warranted it. Specifically, labor shortages, the demand for female labor, and the electoral fortunes of the Liberal Democratic Party were key factors driving the expansion of publicly funded childcare and leave legislation.

Volume 33, Number 1 (Winter 2007)
© 2007 Society for Japanese Studies


Marie Anchordoguy and Kevin M. Doak, Coeditors     Martha L. Walsh, Managing Editor
The Journal of Japanese Studies
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