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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien


Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Jochi Kioizaka Bldg. 2F
7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 102-0094, Japan
Tel: 03 – 3222 5198, Fax: 03 – 3222 5420



The presentation will be given in English. The DIJ Social Science Study Group is a forum for young scholars and Ph.D. candidates in the field of Social Sciences. As always, all are welcome to attend, but please register with

“Natural Principles of Law?” Reformist Governors Redefine the Local Sphere

4. Juni 2007 / 18:30

Kate Dunlop, Sophia University

The nationality clause (kokuseki
) is a longstanding restriction on the employment of
foreign residents to the local civil service, traditionally enforced by
the Ministry of Home Affairs as a “natural principle of
law.” In 1995, Governor Daijirō Hashimoto raised the first
public challenge to this restriction, and between 1997 and 2001 eleven
prefectures proceeded to eliminate the clause. While some of these
prefectures have large foreign resident populations and a history of
local opposition to the nationality clause, other prefectures lack both
of these factors. Why, then, was the issue taken up in such rural
prefectures as Kōchi, Tottori or Iwate?

In this latter set of prefectures, “reformist
governors” initiated nationality clause elimination. In this
presentation, I argue that the initial articulation of the nationality
clause issue by Governor Hashimoto, which was echoed by his reformist
cohorts in Tottori, Mie, Iwate and Nagano, represented a fundamentally
liberal approach to the role of local government and central-local
relations. Such a conclusion challenges existing descriptions of the
reformist governors as a group of largely technocratic, non-ideological
local leaders. At the same time, the reformists’ liberal
position was limited. Indeed, while the reformist governors found
resonance with Hashimoto’s original elaboration of the
nationality clause issue, and with the wider political context of the
mid-1990s, this ideological space is now disappearing, along with the
issue of nationality clause elimination itself.

Kate Dunlop is a doctoral student at Sophia University’s
Graduate Program in Global Studies.

Verwandte Forschungsprojekte

Migration und Integration in Japan

Herausforderungen des demographischen Wandels