(Purnendra C. Jain)
Education: Griffith University, Ph.D.
Political scientist, educator, and author. University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, professor. Has been a visiting professor, fellow, or scholar at Oxford University, Tokyo University, National University of Singapore, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the University of California at San Diego.
Japanese Studies Association of Australia (president, 2003-05).
Local Politics and Policymaking in Japan, Commonwealth Publishers (New Delhi, India), 1989.
(Editor, with Takashi Inoguchi) Japanese Politics Today: Beyond Karaoke Democracy?, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
(Editor) Australasian Studies of Japan: Essays and Annotated Bibliography (1989-96), Central Queensland University (Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia), 1998.
(Editor, with Takashi Inoguchi) Japanese Foreign Policy Today: A Reader, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Japan's Local Governance at the Crossroads: The Third Wave of Reform, Australia-Japan Research Centre (Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia), 2000.
(Editor, with Greg O'Leary and Felix Patrikeeff) Crisis and Conflict in Asia: Local, Regional and International Responses, Nova Science Publishers (Huntington, NY), 2002.
Japan's Subnational Governments in International Affairs, Routledge (New York, NY), 2005.
(Editor, with Felix Patrikeeff and Gerry Groot, and contributor) Asia-Pacific and a New International Order: Responses and Options, Nova Science Publishers (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to books, including Australia—Japan Defence and Security Relations, edited by Brad Williams, Routledge, 2006; and Energy Security in Asia, edited by Michael Wesley, Routledge, 2007. Contributor to journals, including Asian Survey, Pacific Review, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Japan Forum, Japanese Studies, Australian Journal of International Affairs, and Politics and Policy.
Purnendra Jain is a scholar whose work focuses on contemporary Japanese politics and international relations. He has published many research articles and reports on Japan's contemporary politics and foreign policy, writes opinion pieces, and offers commentaries for Australian and foreign newspapers and other media outlets. He is editor of Distant Asian Neighbours: Japan and South Asia, which Pacific Affairs contributor Yogesh Grover called "an interesting book," adding: "It seeks to fill a literature gap on the relations between Japan and South Asia." The main thrust of the essays is that South Asia has been peripheral to Japan's economic and political plans and that Japan should redirect its investments toward this region. Grover commented that "this book adds to the large stockpile of evidence that Japanese foreign policy since World War II has been characterized by a reluctance to get involved in political conflicts, particularly those which are detrimental to its economic interests."
Jain is the editor, with Takashi Inoguchi, of Japanese Politics Today: Beyond Karaoke Democracy? "As used in this book, the term [karaoke] applies more generally to the image of Japanese politics as routinized and rather less than representative—a ‘democracylite,’ if you will," explained Andrew DeWit on the H-Net Reviews Web site. "However, the overall thesis of the book's chapters is that the image needs updating, especially in the wake of Japan's historic shift to coalition governments at the national level." DeWit went on to write that Japanese Politics Today is worth reading. He added that this was true "particularly now that the twists and turns—as well as the policy immobilism—of Japanese politics hold such enormous importance for the politico-economic stability of the Asian region, if not the globe itself."
The book features essays from leading scholars and commentators examining the primary factors in Japan's domestic political system. Joseph Y.S. Cheng, writing in Pacific Affairs, called Japanese Politics Today "a very useful book for anyone interested in contemporary Japanese politics," adding: "Almost without exception the chapters are of a high standard, and this is rare among products of conferences. The coverage is indeed comprehensive and almost all important aspects have been discussed."
Many of the essayists address the idea that a social metamorphosis would occur following the death of Emperor Hirohito in 1989. This metamorphosis promised a new era of Japan taking center stage in world politics while shedding the psychological scars of World War II. "This book's first and foremost merit is its wealth of detailed information about what happened in Japanese politics between 1993 and 1995," noted Keiko Tabusa in the Australian Journal of Political Science. "During those three years, many aspects of Japanese politics went through dramatic changes." Mark Beeson wrote in the Journal of Contemporary Asia that "this book makes a significant, if somewhat overdue, contribution to our understanding of the politics of Japanese state-local government relations."
In Japan's Local Governance at the Crossroads: The Third Wave of Reform, the author examines how, in the 1990s, local or subnational governance gained greater importance along with the rise of globalization. According to the author, this power was also boosted by technological advancement, deregulation, and administrative reform. He discusses the challenges these changes place on local communities and how these communities can be effectively governed. Exploring how local governments have struggled for autonomy from Japan's highly centralized national government, Jain writes of the reform movement of the 1990s and how it has done far more than just advance local autonomy. According to Jain, the movement has prodded local governments into improving their performance while taking greater responsibility for local affairs. In addition, Jain examines how, unlike earlier periods, reforms fostered in the 1990s have been simultaneously top down and bottom up.
In his 2005 book Japan's Subnational Governments in International Affairs, the author explores Japanese subnational governments and their impact on Japanese international relations and domestic policies. Writing in the book's preface, the author remarks: "From the early 1990s, my interest in Japanese local government and Japan's foreign affairs has continued to intersect for me, begging a comprehensive study of Japan's local governments as international actors in their right. This book is the result, a product of about a decade of thinking, questioning and researching on this relatively unexplored subject." Among the topics the author addresses is subnational governments (SNGs) and international exchanges. He also writes about SNGs in relation international cooperation and economic diplomacy and examines SNGs and national security.
"Jain is … successful in explaining the varying relationship between national and subnational governments," commented Apichai W. Shipper in Pacific Affairs. "On issues regarding international cooperation and economic diplomacy, Jain shows that SNGs tend to operate along national government priorities." Shipper went on to praise one specific aspect of the book: "Jain's findings in regard to how SNGs in Japan have shown a surprising degree of independence from the central government on sensitive issues such as national security are extremely important and informative."
Writing in the introduction to Japan's Subnational Governments in International Affairs, the author explains: "This books is … an attempt to fill a significant void in the literature on three important issues concerning contemporary Japan: first, the changing role of Japan's SNGs as they pursue their interests beyond Japan's national borders; second, the influence upon SNG relationships with central government actors, which are surely affected by SNGs newfound leverage from international activities; and third, the conduct of Japan's international relations and management of foreign policy as SNGs extend their international reach."
Jain is also the editor, with Felix Patrikeeff and Gerry Groot, of Asia-Pacific and a New International Order: Responses and Options. Published in 2006, the book examines the responses of national governments within the Asia Pacific region to the current security environment and relates options available to governments in the future. Jain is also a contributor to the book, beginning with chapter one, titled "The Pacific Century and the Post-Cold War World," written with Patrikeeff. The essays in the overall book are presented in two parts: "The Changing Environment in the Asia Pacific" and "Response and Options the Cold War Superpowers."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Jain, Purnendra, Japan's Subnational Governments in International Affairs, Routledge (New York, NY), 2005.
Australian Journal of Political Science, July, 1998, Keiko Tabusa, review of Japanese Politics Today: Beyond Karaoke Democracy?, p. 307.
Choice, March, 1998, review of Japanese Politics Today, p. 1268; April, 2007, J.M. Peek, review of Asia-Pacific and a New International Order: Responses and Options, p. 1407.
History: The Journal of the Historical Association, July, 1998, Reinhard Drifte, review of Distant Asian Neighbours: Japan and South Asia, p. 520.
Journal of Contemporary Asia, August, 1999, Mark Beeson, review of Japanese Politics Today, p. 421.
Pacific Affairs, spring, 1998, Yogesh Grover, review of Distant Asian Neighbours, p. 85; summer, 1999, Joseph Y.S. Cheng, review of Japanese Politics Today, p. 271; spring, 2006, Apichai W. Shipper, review of Japan's Subnational Governments in International Affairs, p. 120.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2001, review of Japanese Foreign Policy Today: A Reader, p. 36; August, 2002, review of Crisis and Conflict in Asia: Local, Regional and International Responses, p. 103.
H-Net Reviews,http://www.h-net.org/ (April 16, 2008), Andrew DeWit, review of Japanese Politics Today.
University of Adelaide School of Social Sciences Web site,http://www.arts.adelaide.edu.au/socialsciences/ (April 16, 2008), faculty profile of Purnendra Jain.