|Political Science and Politics (2003), 36:112-112 American Political Science Association|
Copyright © 2003 by the American Political Science Association
APSA-JPSA Exchange: Building Bridges from Boston to Matsuyama
As they have done every fall but one since 1990, a the American Political Science Association and the Japanese Political Science Association (JPSA) exchanged delegates to each other's respective annual meetings. As part of this exchange, William M. Downs (Georgia State University) attended the 2002 JPSA meeting. The conference took place October 5–6 in Matsuyama, the largest city on the southern island of Shikoku, on the campus of Ehime University. The international exchange committee of the JPSA served as an exemplary host for the event, with superb hospitality and arrangements provided by Hiroshi Hirano (Gakushuin University), Toshio Kamo (Osaka City University, President of JPSA), and Yoshiaki Kobayashi (Keio University). A representative of the Korean Political Science Association joined Downs as the conference's only international guests. Some 450 Japanese political scientists participated in the annual meeting, making it one of the best attended JPSA events ever.
The JPSA convened a special panel on “Comparative Political Economy, Globalization, and Democracy,” conducted in English, in which Downs presented a paper. The paper, “Democratization Via Decentralization in the Global Economy: Subnational Governments as Model Entrepreneurs?,” enjoyed a large audience (by APSA standards) and received numerous thoughtful questions and constructive comments. When the APSA's second chosen delegate to the JPSA meeting proved unable to attend, Harukata Takenaka (Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo) stepped in to provide an excellent second paper, “Japanese Monetary Policy from 1985 to 1989: Institutions, Preferences, and Macro-Economic Policy.” Akira Nakamura (Meiji University) chaired the session with Hiroshi Hirano and Oki Takeda (Aoyama Gakuin University) serving as discussants in the 2 ° hour session.
At the invitation of the APSA Committee on International Programs, three JPSA scholars had earlier traveled to the 2002 APSA meeting in Boston. Kentaro Fukumoto (Gakushuin University) presented “Bicameralism in Japan: Are Two Houses Really Different, Useful or Necessary?” Masaru Kohno (Aoyama Gakuin University) wrote on “Politics of the Meiji Restoration: A Post Rational Choice Analysis.” Finally, Naoko Onizuka (Teikyo University) provided the paper “Re-examining Issue Voting in Japan: Direction vs. Proximity.”
The APSA-JPSA exchange program is designed to help bridge the distance between colleagues working in all the fields of the discipline, and it is premised on the assumption that political scientists on both sides of the Pacific have much to learn from one another in terms of theoretical approaches, methodological techniques, and solutions to shared substantive problems. Downs' discussions in Matsuyama revealed that American and Japanese political scientists do share many common professional and intellectual interests, yet there is agreement that the present level of scientific collaboration between members of the two associations is not as extensive as it could or should be.
The exchange program is also a wonderful opportunity to introduce colleagues to new cultures and local histories. In Matsuyama, the JPSA hosts provided Downs ample opportunity to learn more about Japan on this, his first visit to the country. Among the focal points of his tour of the city were the impressive Matsuyama Castle (dating from 1600), the 3000-year-old Dogo Hot Spring Spa (for post-panel relaxation), and the many delights of Japanese cuisine.