The Japanese welfare state system

With special reference to financing health care, pensions and long-term care in a super-aged society

Authored by: Christian Aspalter , Hubert Liu

The Routledge International Handbook to Welfare State Systems

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472449306
eBook ISBN: 9781315613758
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041085


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In the 1970s, with the oil crises, the Japanese government turned away from the idea of a Continental European-style welfare state system for the Japanese society. What followed were many discussions surrounding the differences between “a welfare state” – a European-style comprehensive welfare state system – and “a welfare society” – an Asian-style lighter version of it, a non-redistributive, non-tax-heavy, and social investment-focused welfare state system. This study is focusing on the more professional term of “welfare state systems” instead of welfare states or welfare societies (see Aspalter, 2001a, 2003a), as the existence of differences among systems are addressed by the term itself, and a more technical (not an emotional or ideological) definition is better to work with when conducting international/global comparison (see Vivekanandan, 2001).

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