Japan: Balancing Bureaucracy with Change

DPJ Poster "Government Change", www.dpj.or.jp

DPJ Poster "Government Change", www.dpj.or.jp

Change had been predicted, change occurred. Parliamentary elections in Japan brought two victors: First, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which won almost two thirds of the seats in the House of Representatives. Second, opinion pollsters, who predicted the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would be defeated. My skepticism towards the opinion polls proved unjustified.

In the latest edition of ISN Podcasts, I talked to Dan Harada, an insider to Japanese politics, about the elections and their implications. According to him, the DPJ now faces a dilemma: On the one hand, the new government needs to fulfill its election pledge and strengthen the role of politicians in lawmaking at the cost of bureaucrats. On the other hand, the DPJ needs to cooperate with the bureacracy in order to realize their policies.

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The ISN at APSA

http://www.apsanet.org/

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We’ll be at the 2009 Annual Meeting and Exhibition of the American Political Science Association (APSA), in Toronto, 3-6 September 2009 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

Visit us at booth 632 and grab some free Swiss chocolate.

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Those Immigrants…

Photo: Tom Godber, flickr

Photo: Tom Godber, flickr

Migrant integration in Europe is one of the hot topics on the continent, especially concerning Muslims. A number of Muslim immigrants in France arrived from Algeria in the second half of the 20th century due to the colonial relationship that lasted until 1962.  In France, and the rest of Europe, its the cultural-religious differences between devout Muslims and the secular majority that gives sociologists and right-wing politicians a lot to write about.

As one of the interesting side effects of globalization, Algeria itself now seems to have some problems with non-Muslim immigrants. There are an estimated 35,000 Chinese who live in the country who seem to be unwilling or unable to assimilate to the cultural norms of their hosts.
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Is It Worth the Ink?

The CIA has disclosed a long-awaited report on its controversial interrogation methods as part of President Obama’s transparency promise. On his second day in office, he signed an executive order strengthening the Freedom of Information Act.

So now is the time for the public to read that █████ ███ ██ █████████ █ █████████ █████. And even more is revealed, e. g. ██████████ ██ ████ ███████ █ ███ █ ███████. If you have no idea by now, better ████████████████ ████ ████████ █ ██████ ██ ████████, because ████████████████████████ ██████ ██ ██ ██████████████.

The CIA's report on interrogation methods

The CIA's report on interrogation methods

In the future, the newly created “High Value Detainee Interrogation Group” will handle the questioning of high-level prisoners. It is led by the FBI and will act in strict accordance with the the US Army field manual on interrogations, the █████████. I’m sorry, this one, the FM 2-22.3, is of course “approved for public release; distribution is unlimited”.

If it is approved for public release, it cannot be bad, right? And if CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano notes that “The CIA in no way endorsed behavior – no matter how infrequent – that went beyond formal guidance. This has all been looked at. [...] That’s how the system was supposed to work, and that’s how it did work,” then I wonder whether that formal guidance was blacked out in the first place, too?

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ISN Weekly Theme: Preparing for a Pandemic

Travelling with Swine Flu / Photo: Diego Cupulo, flickr

Travelling with Swine Flu / Photo: Diego Cupulo, flickr


As countries prepare for the expected swine flu surge this fall, the ISN is taking this week to examine how they’re steeling themselves for the possible rise in cases.

In the ISN Special Report, Preparing for a Pandemic, Sara Kuepfer looks at the links between swine flu and globalization, while Shirya Malhotra suggests that visual and spatial analysis could help strengthen public health systems in the fight against the virus.

Also check out:

And as always, we’ll be updating the site with more on the subject throughout the coming days.

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