"Self-responsibility" and the Nature of the Postwar Japanese State: Risk through the Looking Glass

This article examines the relationship between the postwar Japanese state and the citizen by focusing on how the state has deployed the discourse of "self-responsibility" in recalibrating the citizen's exposure to external and internal risks. In the context of a more pro-active military role and the pressures of globalization, the citizen is increasingly being required to mediate a range of risks. The article develops this argument by analyzing the Japanese state's response to the exposure of citizens to external risks in the war in Iraq and internal risks in the employment market following the bursting of the "bubble economy."