Refugees, Women, and Weapons: International Norm Adoption and Compliance in Japan

Refugees, Women, and Weapons: International Norm Adoption and Compliance in Japan

Refugees, Women, and Weapons: International Norm Adoption and Compliance in Japan

Refugees, Women, and Weapons: International Norm Adoption and Compliance in Japan

Synopsis

In a world dominated by considerations of material and security threats, Japan provides a fascinating case for why, and under what conditions, a state would choose to adopt international norms and laws that are seemingly in direct conflict with its domestic norms. Approaching compliance from within a constructivist framework, author Petrice R. Flowers analyzes three treaties- addressing refugee policy, women's employment, and the use of land mines- that Japan has adopted. Refugees, Women, and Weapons probes how international relations and domestic politics both play a role in constructing state identity, and how state identity in turn influences compliance.

Flowers argues that, although state desire for legitimacy is a key factor in norm adoption, to achieve anything other than a low level of compliance requires strong domestic advocacy. She offers a comprehensive theoretical model that tests the explanatory power of two understudied factors: the strength of nonstate actors and the degree to which international and domestic norms conflict. Flowers evaluates how these factors, typically studied and analyzed individually, interact and affect one another.

Excerpt

Why should we care about international norms and international law? For many years, international relations scholars neglected their role. the assumption was that they were not important determinants of state behavior and did not tell us much about patterns of interaction between states. But world events began to offer challenges to this view. the primary question in this book is how international norms and international law affect domestic policy change. I investigate the counterintuitive adoption of and compliance with three treaties whose international normative framework conflicted with Japan's domestic norms: the International Treaty Concerning the Status of Refugees and the Optional Protocol (nanmin no chi'i ni kansuru jöyaku oyobi ni giteisho) (ratified in 1981), the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (joshi sabetsu teppai jöyaku) (ratified in 1985), and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of AntiPersonnel Mines and on Their Destruction, the Ottawa Convention or Landmine Treaty (taijin jirai kinshi jöyaku) (ratified in 1998). I explain how conflict between international norms and domestic norms was negotiated to result in successful adoption of the international norms, and I trace the effects of this conflict on efforts to ensure compliance. in a world seemingly dominated by considerations of material and security threats, this book analyzes the significance of international norms and identity in understanding state behavior and explains why Japan defied obvious material and security interests in its decisions to adopt the three treaties investigated here.

In international relations literature, Japan is viewed as a “hard case” by those who argue that international norms matter. Asia is understood as a region where international norms and law are least influential. Scholars . . .

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