Book written by 2009 Abe Fellow Akihiro Ogawa based on his project “Lifelong Learning and Globalization: A Comparative Study of Europe and Japan.”
Akihiro Ogawa explores Japan’s recent embrace of lifelong learning as a means by which a neoliberal state deals with risk. Lifelong learning has been heavily promoted by Japan’s policymakers, and statistics find one-third of Japanese people engaged in some form of these activities. Activities that increase abilities and improve health help manage the insecurity that comes with Japan’s new economic order and increased income disparity. Ogawa notes that the state attempts to integrate the divided and polarized Japanese population through a newly imagined collectivity, atarashii kōkyō or the New Public Commons, a concept that attempts to redefine the boundaries of moral responsibility between the state and the individual, with greater emphasis on the virtues of self-regulation. He discusses the history of lifelong learning in Japan, grassroots efforts to create an entrepreneurial self, community schools that also function as centers for problem solving, vocational education, and career education.