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Publication Detail
Disaster preparedness, adaptive politics and lifelong learning: a case of Japan
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Kitagawa K
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    629, 647
  • Journal:
    International Journal of Lifelong Education
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Preparedness for disaster scenarios is progressively becoming an educational agenda for governments because of diversifying risks and threats worldwide. In disaster-prone Japan, disaster preparedness has been a prioritised national agenda, and preparedness education has been undertaken in both formal schooling and lifelong learning settings. This article examines the politics behind one prevailing policy discourse in the field of disaster preparedness referred to as ‘the four forms of aid’–‘kojo [public aid]’, ‘jijo [self-help]’, ‘gojo/kyojo [mutual aid]’. The study looks at the Japanese case, however, the significance is global, given that neo-liberal governments are increasingly having to deal with a range of disaster situations whether floods or terrorism, while implementing austerity measures. Drawing on the theory of the adaptiveness of neo-liberalism, the article sheds light on the hybridity of the current Abe government’s politics: a ‘dominant’ neo-liberal economic approach–public aid and self-help–and a ‘subordinate’ moral conservative agenda–mutual aid. It is argued that the four forms of aid are an effective ‘balancing act’, and that kyojo in particular is a powerful legitimator in the hybrid politics. The article concludes that a lifelong and life-wide preparedness model could be developed in Japan which has taken a social approach to lifelong learning.
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