Research - Talks

On this page please find information on and links through to my oral presentations.

Slideshows are hosted on Academia.edu.
Slideshow films with voiceovers are hosted on Youtube.


RESEARCH DISSEMINATION WORKS: WHY DO IT, HOW TO DO IT, AND IS IT EFFECTIVE?

Location: Sheffield, UK
Event Date: 29 January 2015
Organisation: School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield

Slideshow at Academia.edu

In a society experiencing information overload, and an increasingly demanding and competitive academic environment, it is vital that scholars take steps to promote access to their own research. In this talk I explain why we should spend time and resources on disseminating our research, engage with some of the reasons why scholars might not want to do so, explain some strategies for maximising electronic research dissemination, and produce evidence to show that these techniques work. This is an updated version of a talk I gave at the School of East Asian Studies Research Awayday on 29 January 2015.


Embracing Decline? Understanding the Dynamics of Ageing, Depopulation and Well-Being in Rural Japan

Location: Vancouver, Canada
Event Date: 22nd October 2014
Organisation: Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia

Slideshow at Academia.edu

Japan is shrinking. Under present trends the country’s population may shrink to approximately 87 million by 2060, due to sustained falls in rates of human reproduction. In addition, increasing life expectancy makes Japan a ‘hyper-aged society’. Indeed, the consequences of ageing and depopulation are appearing across the entire country and throughout all areas of activity. Depopulation is potentially good news, providing opportunities for reconfiguring living conditions and alleviating human-environmental pressures. Nevertheless, it has outcomes that require adjustment measures for affected regions and sectors. This is a pressing concern for rural regions, whose economic development and capital accumulation has lagged urban areas. These and other issues exemplify a widening fissure developing between rural and urban regions which looks set to continue. What is interesting about Japan’s situation is how adaptive responses there might inform about other East Asian countries as they experience similar developmental pathways. The paper first sets Japan within the world demographic context by comparing with the rest of East Asia. It then describes some of the impacts in rural regions, and ends with a discussion of adjustment opportunities. In particular I suggest that there is potential for deriving positive gains from shrinkage – what I term a ‘depopulation dividend’, and for Japan to lead Asia into a post-growth steady-state economy.

This talk was sponsored by the Japan Foundation, Toronto.


Resilience and Fragmentation at Work: Lifetime Employment in 21st Century Japan

Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Event Date: 27-30 August 2014
Organisation: European Association for Japanese Studies

Slideshow at Academia.edu


This paper argues that the enduring resilience of lifetime employment in 21st century Japan depends upon the continuing fragmentation of employment stability at the system’s periphery. It presents the latest government numerical data on the structure of the labour force, regular and non-regular employment, and job tenure by age, gender and industry to show the following. First, the share of regular employees has been decreasing, but this is not due simply to job substitution by non-regular workers. Second, the structure of both the labour force and employment have been changing. Third, job tenure remains high in Japan and is increasing among some ages and industries and among women. We argue that, despite some erosion of stability at the periphery and fragmentation of employment types, lifetime employment remains strong in 21st century Japan.


From Hashima to Carajas: Explorations in East Asian Development and Global Environmental Exhaustion

Location: London, United Kingdom
Event Date: 13 December 2013
Organisation: Japan Foundation

Slideshow at Academia.edu
 


This talk examines two mines, at Hashima in western Japan and Carajas in Amazonia, to explore the human and environmental consequences of East Asian development. Opened in 1897, the coal mine at Hashima Island in Nagasaki Bay was important for Japan’s economic development, and in the advancement of its imperialist ambitions in East Asia. Since its abandonment by Mitsubishi Mining in 1974 in the wake of the first oil crisis, almost nothing has been done to remove the detritus of industrialization and encourage the island’s ecology to flourish once more. The iron ore mine at Carajas, deep within the Amazonian rain forest, is reputedly the largest human dug hole on Earth. Developed since the late 1960s, in part by Japan’s Mitsui keiretsu, its operation has driven significant technological advances to enable massive scale economies in extraction, transportation, processing and energy generation. Recently Chinese involvement has encouraged further leaps in technology and scale. Hashima and Carajas share some striking and disturbing similarities. Using theories of metabolic rift and ecological exhaustion, this paper will explore the relationship between space, time, technology and capital to critique Japan’s and East Asia’s economic expansion, and illuminate its role in the accelerating depletion of the Earth’s natural endowment.

This talk was sponsored by the Japan Foundation, London.


Understanding the Dynamics of Regional Growth and Shrinkage in 21st Century Japan: Towards the Realisation of a ‘Depopulation Dividend’ in East Asia

Location: Berlin, Germany
Event Date: 22 November 2013
Organisation: VSJF (Vereinigung für sozialwissenschaftliche Japanforschung - German Association for Social Science Research on Japan)

Slideshow at Academia.edu

Japan is shrinking. Under present trends the government projects that the country’s population will have shrunk by almost a third to 87 million people by 2060. In addition, Japan’s population is ageing, presenting difficult challenges for the government in maintaining fiscal stability. Within this overall picture the situation is particularly difficult for rural areas, and a deep fissure is emerging in 21st century Japan, between relatively dynamic and prosperous metropolitan centres and a col-lapsing rural periphery. This paper will first present Japan’s demographic circumstances in the context of world population trends, and then describe the strongly spatial component to these dramatic shifts in the structure of the nation. From there the paper will argue that where Japan goes, so the rest of East Asia is likely to follow, with potentially consequences of a global magnitude. Finally the chapter will explore the potential for population reduction to generate a ‘depopulation dividend’, and for Japan to lead the rest of Asia into a genuinely post-industrial and post-growth steady-state economy.


Before and After the Disaster: Bounce Back or Bounce Forward?

Location: Manchester, United Kingdom
Event Date: 19 November 2012
Organisation: Geographical Association

Slideshow at Academia.edu

 

Japan's rural regions have been shrinking for the entire post-war period, and successive efforts to revitalise rural society have failed. Will the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear meltdown, present a watershed opportunity to rethink regional revitalisation? What impact will it have on national energy strategies? This lecture summarised the events of the spring and summer of 2011, examined possible approaches to the reconstruction of communities in the Tohoku region, and provided an assessment of current strategies one year on from the disaster. The Japanese government is developing a new vision for a safe, sustainable, and compassionate society as part of its reconstruction plans; how will this be achieved?

This talk was sponsored by the Geographical Association, Manchester Branch.


Depopulation and Environmental Risk: The Case of Japan's Shrinking Regions

Location: Duisburg, Germany
Event Date: 15 May 2012
Organisation: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen

Slideshow at Academia.edu
 

It is commonly assumed that a stable or even falling human population will reduce human pressures on the environment. But is this really the case? There are few countries in the world where large scale data on energy consumption and biodiversity in depopulating areas is available which could be used to test this hypothesis. Japan is one country where evidence is available. The data suggests that depopulating prefectures have a higher than average growth in energy consumption than prefectures where the population is growing. This counter-intuitive finding needs more investigation as to why depopulating regions should be more rapidly increasing their energy consumption. There is also counter-intuitive evidence to suggest that biodiversity is reduced as a consequence of depopulation in Japan’s rural regions. This research has significance for other areas of the world too, as world population levels are, over the long term, stabilising and are expected to turn downwards in some regions, including East and Southeast Asia, and Europe, from 2020-40. Presuming that China and other Asian countries have adopted similar models of accelerated economic development to Japan, and if path dependencies also hold, then China may also experience increasing energy consumption and reduced biodiversity when it begins to depopulate. Research into why this is currently happening in Japan and developing policy orientations to help mitigate these trends may have a significant impact on reducing the negative environmental outcomes of China's coming depopulation and economic slowdown.

This talk was made possible by the European Union's Erasmus Mundus Programme.


The Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Meltdown: An Assessment One Year On

Location: Manchester, United Kingdom
Event Date: 14 April, 2012
Organisation: Japan Society of the UK

Slideshow at Academia.edu


Japan's rural regions have been shrinking for the entire post-war period, and successive efforts to revitalise rural society have failed. Will the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear meltdown, present a watershed opportunity to rethink regional revitalisation? What impact will it have on national energy strategies? This lecture summarised the events of the spring and summer of 2011, examined possible approaches to the reconstruction of communities in the Tohoku region, and provided an assessment of current strategies one year on from the disaster. The Japanese government is developing a new vision for a safe, sustainable, and compassionate society as part of its reconstruction plans; how will this be achieved?

This talk was the Japan Society of the UK Annual Lecture at the Geographical Association Annual Conference.