Japan Foundation-sponsored Ireland-Japan Social Science Symposia: UCD and the University of Tokyo project

Spring / Autumn, 2014

The project Ireland-Japan Social Science Symposia: Sharing knowledge, shaping the future of the welfare society in Europe and Japan was organised through competitive funding from the Japan Foundation, and a joint project between University College Dublin (Public Policy Group – College of Social Sciences and Law) and the University of Tokyo (Graduate School of Public Policy & Graduate Schools of Law and Politics).

(Picture - left to right: Dr Nao Kodate (UCD/UT), Prof. Jane Grimson (HIQA/Trinity College Dublin), Prof. Michelle D’Arcy (TCD), Prof. Junko Kato (UT), Dr Sebastian Dellepiane (Strathclyde University, Scotland), Dr Michelle Norris (UCD), Prof. Nobuhiro Hiwatari (UT), the late T.P. Hardiman (Chair, Chester Beatty Library), Prof. Niamh Hardiman (UCD), former Ambassador of Japan in Ireland Mr Chihiro Atsumi, UCD President Prof. Andrew J. Deeks, Prof. Tony Fahey (UCD), Prof. Shin Ushiro (Kyushu University/Japan Council for Quality Health Care), Prof. Colin Scott (College of Social Sciences and Law) and Dr Chiaki Sato (UT)).

The one-day symposium Sharing knowledge, shaping the future of the welfare society in Europe and Japan was held at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Public Policy in June 2014. The topics covered included policy issues surrounding housing, family, maternity services and regulation of social services. The symposium, open to the public, attracted many participants, primarily researchers from a variety of policy fields – law, economics, politics, medicine, nursing, and public policy. Prof. Colin Scott (School of Law), Prof. Tony Fahey, Assoc. Prof. Michelle Norris and Dr Naonori Kodate (School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice) were among the speakers. The event generated discussions and interest in Irish contemporary society amongst Japanese participants, with the results to be published in the University of Tokyo Journal of Law and Politics later this year.

The Ireland-Japan Social Science Symposia (IrJaSS) was a year-long project primarily funded by the Japan Foundation (PI: Dr Kodate). It was the very first Japan Foundation sponsored symposium in the Irish Higher Education institution. Subsequently, the Memorandum of Understanding between UCD and the University of Tokyo was signed by both universities through the work of Dr Kodate who is a UT alumnus and was one of the first Study Abroad program (AIKOM) students back in 1996.

The second symposium was hosted by UCD and held at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, in September 2014, thanks to the late Dr Tom Hardiman who was the chairperson of its Board. Furthermore, the second symposium was officially supported by the Embassy of Japan in Ireland. You can revisit some of the talks at the 2nd symposium on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ShGbRsBe_c&t=7s). Moreover, The University of Tokyo Journal of Law and Politics published two special issues of articles presented at the symposium (http://www.ibc.j.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/publications/journal.html Vols. 11 & 12), which showcase potentially fertile grounds for further research collaborations in comparative social policy. The leader of the UCD Public Policy Group is Prof. Niamh Hardiman (UCD School of Politics and International Relations).