Computers and Technology
Submitted By phill
Globalization ,Education and Japan Ikuo ISOZAKI(Dr. & Prof.) Chiba University,JAPAN
The word “globalization” is the buzzword of the moment. Similar to the word “democracy”, it could be one of those words that become more ambiguous in meaning as they are more widely used. Globalization, however, is not too difficult a word to understand when we interpret it as a phenomenon where goods, people, information and services are now more easily coming together over national boundaries. Behind globalization, no doubt, is rapid technological innovation. The idea is that globalization is dramatically making our globe smaller, our spectrum wider and our various networks larger. Some people argue that there are downfalls however, including flooding information and heightening psychological insecurity from various types of inequality. We are required to face globalization while fully understanding the positives and negatives of globalization. Globalization is likely impacting not only on how economies work, but also on what a state actually is. For example, some experts maintain that the function of a state is diminished by globalization and forced to focus efforts on localization and regionalization. I would like to examine from various aspects how globalization influences states,and public policies, especially on the educational policy by taking Japan as an example.
1. What is Globalization? First, I would like to examine what globalization is. A translation in Japanese would be “integration of the globe,” but what exactly does it mean when the globe integrates? Economically, our globe is certainly being integrated and we have less and less borders. Our life, however, is still full of borders, especially in terms of politics and culture. Also, you may think that integration brings homogeneity of components, but you should not forget that integration also expands heterogeneity and inequality, such as in income gaps or environmental gaps. Now, let us take a look at some academic definitions of globalization. A. Giddens’s definition is: the global expansion of social relationship linking regions that were far apart, something in a certain region is formed by another happened in a far away region (Giddens :64). D. Harvey defined the word as “compression of space-time” (Harvey :284). Giddens’s definition is related to the argument of modernity and is a concept commonly examined in various cases. It doesn’t contradict with the notion of “integration of the globe.” It implies expansion based on the concepts of space including de-territorialization and multiplication of networks. Harvey’s definition, on the other hand, expresses dynamism where time and space is ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *This article is based on the article,titled “Gurobaraizesyon to Kokka(Globalization and the State)”(Japanese Social Studies Research 95) published in 2005 and new chapters are added,making some modifications.
condensed. As these definitions indicate, the current situation where concepts of time and space change with unprecedented speed and depth is indeed globalization.
2. Impact of Globalization and States How you see globalization generally determines how you see its impact. Hyperglobalists emphasize collapse and dysfunction of states, the skeptics stress unchangeability and reinforcement of state functions, and transformationalists focus on the both aspects as well as transformation of state functions(See Held,Goldblatt,andPerraton ).I would like to take the viewpoint of transformationalists and discuss the twofold aspects of globalization. The impact of globalization is largely divided into the aspect to pressure states to collapse and the aspect to restructure (and reinterpret) states, although some aspects of states remain unchanged. This contradicting course of direction appears differently in different states. In some states, the governments’ restructuring function as well as control functions are augmented and resistance to collapse is shown, while other states would drift into collapse or “out of control” condition (S. Brezinski). Bipolarization is what we are going to see. Let me elaborate on this crossing pressure. First, in the phenomena of collapse, states are to be torn vertically through regionalism and localization. Localization is connected to empowerment of and devolution to citizens. In this context, the concept of sovereignty as “absolute power to be able to make one’s own decisions over matters of oneself” would be forced to alter. That is to say, sovereignty would be split into the hands of international institutions and local institutions. This trend of states toward collapse, as we are seeing, emerges as a drive for smaller governments supported by intensifying market pressure and by the concept of neo-liberalism prevailing in advanced countries. Globalization also lowers the weight of states as a result of multipolarization of players. Now in terms of restructuring of states, its range and effectiveness depend on the national power and the quality of members of the government. In this process, states would be forced to shift from welfare states to competition states in line with market principles, but states which are merely played with markets’ direct requirements could not be described as being restructured. It should be called “quasi states” (R. Jackson) or drifting states. Core roles of real competition states are to enhance national competitiveness, to increase social values including safety nets and to maintain governability (Cullen and Cushman :5-8). You may associate the restructuring of states with heavier intervention of states. It does have that aspect, but the restructuring inevitably has to progress while wisely utilizing creativity of the general public. Now I would like to expand on this issue in terms of policy. Globalization influences not only economies, but also cultures and societies and they in turn eventually influence what states are and their policies. First, collapse of states would emerge in phases which are difficult for state authority to deal with, such as decline of effectiveness in macroeconomic policies and in control of foreign exchange in international economic regimes, and restrictions on policies among EU member countries. It also emerges in reduction of authority due to deregulation as well as in devolution to local governments. During such processes, welfare states would hold a “race to seek the bottom” (Woods :1), which would result in declining welfare standards. That is expected to lead to convergence of policies to some extent among advanced countries. In terms of restructuring of states, wisdom of governments would be challenged even in the economic field where effectiveness is expected to diminish. Governments would have to, for example, not only cut costs but also provide a comfortable working environment for employees. Coordination with protectionist measures which is due reaction of globalization would also be required. In the restructuring of states, such policy has immediate importance as industrial policy, science and technology policy, labor policy concerning vocational training, and technical skills education. At the same time, a group of policies regarding social welfare, education policy, and safety of public life is also important. Cultural policy and policy concerning national identity, on the other hand, usually go individually in response to nationalistic movement, although they are partly influenced by globalization directly. In this manner, states, although partly collapsed, would form the reality of competition states by priority investment in resources. Such states would focus on policy regarding arrangement of economic infrastructure, development of people who can deal with global competition. The states would also focus on social policy including introduction of safety nets, education policy and identity policy because poverty and social confusion would hinder states from being competitive. The competition state does not have just a single model. What kind of policy group would be dominant depends on a number of factors such as path dependency and the level of realization of “politics of ideas.”
3. Globalization in Japan Now with the politics in the 1980s in mind, I would like to discuss the influence of globalization on the Japanese policy management. Generally speaking,public policies will be changed by international pressure,political elite’s learning and imitation,and so on.Here I would like to describe the Japanese policy management in terms of growing globalization of the economy, Americanization, and democratization.
(1) Growing Globalization of the Economy Globalization essentially has economic connotations, but Japan, due to its industrial structure, is directly impacted by the international economic regime under the global capitalism. Japan, of course, independently opted for “strong and wealthy state without military” and the impact is not merely passive. The country suffered disadvantages such as the coordination for stronger yen or the compromise in the GATT Uruguay Round, but these are due results of her choice to live in the international stability. Japan is basically still working to adapt herself to the global standards including the introduction of International Accounting Standards and the BIS capital adequacy requirement. We should keep in mind that distribution of goods and services in economies can also be described as export of countries’ culture and values. Under these circumstances the global competition is the name of the game and Japan has no choice but to aim for a “competition state.” Policies to develop a country based on technological advancement and to deregulate (a shift from public to private sectors) have been set out. In the field of welfare the increasing burden on private companies is called to be corrected. Engaged in business with a global view in the borderless economy, Japanese companies are pressed to cut costs and consequently review the seniority-based wage system or life-long employment system. The Japanese government coordinates the direction of globalization with the legacy of domestic policy and tries to provide safety nets for those who cannot survive the fluctuation, but at the same time it has to emphasize the importance of self-assistance due to fiscal restrictions. Under the influence of the private sector, “the New Pubic Management” has been underlined in the government and efficiency as well as effectiveness has been strongly demanded of it.
(2) Americanization Americanization overlaps with globalization. Its examples include liberalization of agricultural products and the Japan-US Structural Talks in the 1980s. The US-led Gulf War paved the way for the enactment of PKO Cooperation Law, resulting in the overseas dispatch of the Self Defense Forces. It could partly be described as Americanization. The intentional pressure from the US was guaranteed by the fact that Japan, after the defeat in World War II, was occupied practically by the US. It was also guaranteed by the bilateral relationship reinforced by Japan-US security arrangements and the prolonged international Cold War structure. It is also affected by the reinterpretation and the following strengthening of Japan-US security arrangements in the 1990s, the ongoing “Asian Cold War” and the remaining of the old systems established in East Asia in the early 21th Century. Economically Japan’s dependence on the US is increasing as the US has performed as the largest market for Japanese products. In the Japan-US economic field, the ground has been leveled through a series of talks; from Japan-US Structural Impediments Initiative Talks to Comprehensive Talks and since 2001 Japan-US Deregulation Initiative and Competition Policy Initiative. The US’s dependence on Japan is also increasing as their government bond market is supported by Japan. This illustrates that Japan and the United States share the same destiny. In the cultural aspect, “things American” are rooted in the Japanese culture, chief among them being American movies. American life style and sense of values are also widely spread in Japan. Furthermore, most of today’s IT revolutions are launched out of the US and the majority of their contents are made in the US. This leads us to think that influence from the US is much larger than it appears.
(3) Democratization Globalization, with information flowing over national boundaries, is paving a way for the possibility of global democracy. Market principles which promote globalization have affinity with such senses of values as sovereignty of consumers, importance attached to customers, self-assistance or independence and are associated with democratic ways of thinking. Also globalization often parallels demand for transparency and gives Japanese culture momentum to change --- for example, in duality of logic of “inside” and “outside.” Needless to say, democracy in Japan has progressed in line with institutions such as the Constitution, realization of economic prosperity, and information distribution by mass media. Globalization and Americanization, however, also have influenced how the current democratic politics was established in Japan. From the ‘80s to ‘90s, particularly in the ‘90s, fluidization of politics progressed and distrust in the administration increased. Under such circumstances Japan saw depoliticized public, cynicism and me-ism (a kind of egoism) as well as unique ways of order establishment. Their typical examples can be seen in town planning. In the local referendum in Maki Town, Niigata Prefecture, the movement of direct democracy was witnessed. Facing such trend, the Japanese government is arranging institutional prerequisites to make the decision-making process transparent and to encourage people to participate in the politics, such as Information Disclosure Act, Administrative Procedure Act, and the Public Comment System. In response to the arguments over “new public” and governance, the politics is now moving in the direction to go to the public for help. The declining voting rate may be interpreted as regress of democratic politics, but when we take into consideration people’s heightening awareness of their rights or the civic movement to seek new publicness, the Japanese public can be considered matured to a certain extent. Japan has to aim at becoming a new competition state while utilizing the power of the public.
4. Globalization and Japan’s Educational Policy (1)Educational Policies sincethe 1980s Now I would like to examine the impact of globalization focusing on the educational policy in and after the 1980s. In the 1970s Central Council of Education made a proposal titled “The Third Education Reform.” It included suggestions such as building a school system based on the children’s developmental phases and providing various options for academic courses. Partly due to the criticism which regarded such suggestions meritocratic, and partly due to restrictions of the government budget, the proposal wasn’t brought into effect. Some years later after the abandoned proposal, Prime Minister Nakasone took office and he announced “education reform” would be his cabinet’s major agenda. In 1984 the Ad Hoc Education Council was established and in 1986 it compiled their initial report. The report posted the following 8 items as their principles:
1. A basic principle to emphasize children’s individual characters
2. Focus on the basic and fundamental academics
3. To nurture creativity, ability to think and ability to express themselves
4. To increase choices
5. To add more human touch to the educational environment
6. Shift to life-long learning structure
7. To deal with internationalization
8. To deal with computerization The Ad Hoc Council of Education further compiled their second and third reports and in 1987 submitted the fourth report. The fourth report once again focused on basic principles to emphasize children’s individual characters, shift to lifelong learning structure, how to deal with internationalization and computerization, but their detailed measures failed to be detailed enough and many of them were not carried out. In order to reform education in response to internationalization which is an impact of globalization, the council took up such items as education for returnee children and children living abroad, making schools more international, improving systems to accept more students from abroad, reassessing foreign language education, improving Japanese language education, and reviewing higher education from international viewpoints. On the whole, the Ad Hoc Council made proposals for education which would suit a mature society, a shift from the education to catch up with advanced countries. In other words, the restructuring of the traditional Japanese education was sought, just as individuality, liberalization and internationalization of education was pursued to cope with globalization and liquefaction of the economy. Modern globalization including computerization emerged in Japan as a move to emulate the education developed in the US in the ‘60s, while in the US and the UK as a move to depart from their relaxed education, threatened by declining scholastic ability. It was the time when in Japan uniformity of education and rote learning style of education were severely criticized. Into the 1990s the Central Council of Education continued to discuss “how education in Japan should be with an eye on the 21st Century” and in 1996 they put forward the notion of “zest for living.” Underlying it was the prediction that the Japanese society would soon enter an unforeseeable era with drastic changes as a result of further development of internationalization, computerization, and science and technology as well as energy issues, sharply declining birth rate and rapidly aging society. The Council stressed that children in the new era must acquire the followings: abilities to find tasks on their own, to learn and think on their own, to judge, act and solve problems independently, profound humanity including hearts to discipline themselves, to cooperate with others, and to sympathize with others, or feelings to be moved and touched, and health and strength to live vigorously. The Council added that in order to nurture the “zest for living,” it was critical that the whole community, including schools, families and local communities, had to be more “relaxed.” This idea resulted in such concrete measures to reform school education as to meticulously select contents of education so that students master all the basic and fundamental academics, to decrease class hours, and to make the curriculum flexible in order to create more individualistic students. Another measure taken was to set up a new subject called “period for integrated study” which focused on activities with actual experiences. When Prime Minister Obuchi took office, however, he established the National Commission on Educational Reform and announced that more focus should be put on such aspects as nurturing children to be sociable and independent grown-ups with profound humanity, bringing out the best in each children, nurturing creative leaders, and building new types of schools. The Cabinet put forward a revision of the Fundamental Education Law and establishment of Education Promotion Plan. In line with these policies of the Obuchi Cabinet, the Central Council of Education compiled in 2003 a report which called for “nurturing full and vigorous Japanese people who live resiliently in the 21st Century.” The key ideas of the education reform were set upon “mind to love one’s hometown and country” and “respect for the Japanese tradition and culture.” The latest development in this course of action was the revision of the Fundamental Education Law in 2006. The revised law passed the Diet without major objections amid the series of bullying problems surfacing nationwide, but it was a highly symbolic policy. The revision also demonstrates that the order is now being established top-down through the shift of education from the hands of individuals to those of the national government. The revision does not have immediate effect on solving problems such as bullying. It aims rather mid- to long-term educational effect. The revision, of course, does not mean that the country is returning to the post-war era, because creativity and initiative are demanded in the market today. (2)Three Trends and the Educational Policies Now I would like to summarize the changes in Japan’s educational policy mainly in and after the 1980s in relation to the three trends discussed in the previous chapter: globalization, Americanization and democratization. As globalization in the economy is leading the way to competition states, the business circles demand development of human resources to support global competition. Such demand inspires arguments on creating the elite and debates on the declining scholastic ability. It further leads to such moves as introduction of English lessons into elementary schools, establishment of secondary education schools, an increase of class hours, implementation of the renewal system of teaching certificate, and shock therapies such as appointment of universities as Center of Excellence and turning national universities into independent administrative corporations. In terms of Americanization, it is a well-known fact that Japan’s post-war education system was designed after the US system and I am not going to elaborate on that. Even in the development after the 1980s, Japan further introduced education systems from the US. The ongoing reforms are following the model of the UK which is also Anglo-Saxon. When the uniform education was criticized in the 1980s, democratization, under such concepts as “zest for living” or focus on individuality, sought for release of different individuals and independence and maturity as a basis of democracy. This is a large step in Japan’s democratization and citizenship education. Democratization is also making progress in association with structural decentralization (such as larger roles played by municipalities and independence of schools), School Advisory Council System, and School Selection System which is associated with market principles. The increasing calls for accountability on the whole allow people to share information, resulting in more open school management.
5.Concluding Remarks Japan is now surrounded by these three major trends which influence one another and her environment is both domestically and internationally growing increasingly complicated and uncertain. Domestically, the country faces such issues as arrival of ultra-rapidly aging society, fiscal crisis, increasing psychological insecurity (including liquefaction and fluidization), how to adapt herself to a society without growth, and how to cope with institutional fatigue of the establishment of 1940. Particularly the issue of government and municipal bonds is running into astronomical figures and integration of the state by distribution of wealth is reaching the limit. That, combined with the pressure caused by the aging population, even questions Japan’s sustainability. Facing such issues as the prolonged recession, the increasing number of temporary workers such as NEETs and part-time workers, the feeling of entrapment of the era, prevailing me-ism(a kind of egoism), and diversifying sense of value, Japan could utilize symbols as a new way of integration. Symbols and basic policies are increasing their significance partly because of their appeal to nationalism-related issues. The Japanese government has intentionally or unintentionally been oblivious to some macro-policies such as the issue of the Constitution . Internationally, how to deal with the vestiges of the Asian Cold War, the nuclear problem of North Korea, the territorial issues and issues of natural resources around the Japanese land, and how to adapt the country to the new regionalism are challenging Japan. In addition, accelerating globalization could further fluidize and complicate the situations. How would the government intervene in such cases? With what policy would the government respond to unintended consequences invited by its intervention? Japan has to tackle each issue with great care, choosing accelerator and/or brake for each policy. Also, maturity of public awareness strongly demands accountability,which is related democratization. The government is urged to constantly consider in advance how it would account for the consequences of its policy. In this context it would be critical for the government to be armed with theory. Furthermore, when constructing systems to swiftly react to both domestic and international disturbances or acts of terrorism, the government is required to perform delicate steering in order not to infringe people’s freedom. As mentioned before,economic globalization promotes a drive for smaller governments supported by intensifying market pressure and by the concept of neo-liberalism . And in this process, states would be forced to shift from welfare states to competition states in line with market principles. In such circumstances, under the slogan coined by the Koizumi Administration, “No reform, no growth,” the government is thriving to shatter vested interests and is working on the reform of the Japan Highway Public Corporation and the Postal Privatization. The function of the public sector has also been shrinking amidst calls for a smaller government. Japan has no choice but to aim for a “competition state.” Policies to develop a country based on technological advancement and to deregulate (a shift from public to private sectors) have been set out. In the field of welfare the increasing burden on private companies is called to be corrected. Engaged in business with a global view in the borderless economy, Japanese companies are pressed to cut costs and consequently review the seniority-based wage system or life-long employment system.This phenomena are partly related to Americanization. In the Japan-US economic field, the ground has been leveled through a series of talks . In terms of educational policy,government is urged to develop talented pupils and students. The business circles demand development of human resources to support global competition.And our educational reform have been made,learning from Anglo-Saxon neoliberal reforms,which represents a kind of Americanization. However, states should not be merely played with markets’ direct requirements. As mentioned before,governments would have to provide a comfortable working environment for employees. Coordination with protectionist measures which is due reaction of globalization would also be required. Such policy has immediate importance as industrial policy, science and technology policy, labor policy concerning vocational training, and technical skills education,as a competitive state,but at the same time, social welfare, other educational policy,and safety of public life, are important. The states should focus on these policies because poverty and social confusion would hinder states from being competitive. And simultaneously identity policy is needed. Globalization has an aspect to deprive states and individuals of their identity and it would be necessary, as a reaction to globalization, to deal with the issues of identity and people’s fundamental insecurity caused by dramatic changes. The Koizumi Administration which was unable to rely on distribution politics because of the enormous amount of fiscal deficits resorted to grandstand play (playing to the gallery) to gain centripetal force (high approval rate) as a stabilizer of globalization. The Abe Administration, however, cannot succeed such grandstand play. The administration instead is thriving to manipulate the ship, the Japan, by heightening people’s awareness of their nation or state through the revision of the Fundamental Education Law. The revision is a way of utilizing a symbol and is in line with the traditional conservatism. It emphasizes a sense of patriotism, tradition and culture and casts anchor into people’s minds which tend to “drift away.” After the Abe Administration,short-lived administration-Fukuda and Aso-continued,but the governances have drifted. This result of the most recent election(summer 2009),the festival of democratization ,shows that LDP has failed to balance demands for competitive state with relief of the damaged.They questioned its ability to manage Japan.And the result seem to reflect the liquefaction of the politics following the end of the Cold War in one sense. The four trends, that is, globalization of the economy, Americanization, democratization and reactions to these trends (for example, symbiosis states as opposed to competition states, subordination, strategic utilization and independence accompanying Americanization, penetration of democracy resulting in making the public stupid, populism, and imposing the will of the state or oppressing participation to counter anarchism) sometimes collaborate each other and produce synergy effects and sometimes confront against each other. It is needless to say that a number of challenges are waiting for the ship, the Japan, before it manages to coordinate the four waves and successfully sets out to the ocean.
Cerny,P.G.(1999) Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy,European Journal of Political Research 36
Cullen,R.B. andD.P.Cushman(2000) Transitions to Competitive Government:Speed,Consensus,and Performance(Albany:StateUniversity of New York Press)
Evans,P.(1997) The Eclipse of the State?Reflections on Stateness in an Era of Globalization,World Politics 50
Giddens, A. (1990) The Consequences of Modernity (Stanford:Stanford University Press)
Harvey,D.(1989) The Condition of Postmodernity(oxford,UK:Blackwell)
Held,D.,A.McGrew,D.Goldblatt,andJ.Perraton(1999) Global Transformation:Politics,Economics,and Culture (Stanford:Stanford University Press)
Jackson,R.(1993) Quasi States:Sovereignty,International Relations and the Third World(Cambridge:Cambridge University Press)
Palan,R.and J.Abbot with P.Deans(1996) State Strategies in the Global Political Economy(London and New York:Pinter)
Swank,D.(2002) Global Capital,Political Institutions and Policy Change in Developed Welfare States(Cambridge:Cambridge University Press)
Woods,N(ed)(2000) The Political Economy of Globalization(Basingstoke:Macmillan)