Graduate School of Law/Faculty of Law, Kobe University




The Emergence of Needs-sensitive and Participation-based Welfare Systems in an Era of Aging and Population Decline: An International Comparison

Principal Investigator: Professor TEJIMA Yutaka

Defining the characteristics of the welfare systems of developed countries since the late 1980s as “needs-sensitive and participation-based,” this joint study aims to carry out comprehensive research that will contribute to the medium- to long-term quality enhancement and sustainable development of such welfare systems. The core members of this on-going research project are faculty members of the Kobe University Graduate School of Law, who specialize in legal and political studies, and scholars of diverse specialties who were formerly based at Kobe University as faculty.

North America, Europe, Japan, Russia and Eastern Europe (and Oceanian countries were added) were selected as the target regions for study, with research on social services for the elderly taking place through the exploration of policies in principal fields such as medical care, nursing care, labor and pensions. The research trends of theories relevant to welfare system analysis (e.g. game theory, rational choice theory and liberal egalitarian theory) were considered to grasp the factors and characteristics of needs-sensitive, participation-based welfare reform, as the project examined the historical development of the needs-sensitive, participation-based welfare systems of each country, as well as the respective backgrounds of, and specific factors for, these reforms.

The results have indicated that further investigation is required on matters such as the ideal state of the self-determination of members under new, theoretically-substantiated welfare systems (i.e. the ability for self-determination differs substantially between the elderly; welfare theories that assume a uniform and homogenous ability must therefore be re-examined) and the political measures being taken in order to sustain welfare systems (i.e. the involvement of scientific policies, etc., that contribute to improved environments for foreign labor and welfare).

Going forward, we will be shifting the emphasis of the research to such directions.