In 1999, responding to international concerns about the sexual exploitation of children, the Japanese Diet voted unanimously to ban child prostitution and child pornography. In the wake of 9/11, the government's counter-terrorism policy shifted toward new military solutions, and away from an earlier emphasis on law enforcement. Although they seem unrelated, these two policies reveal the unintended consequences of attempts to enforce international norms at the national level. While opponents of child prostitution and child pornography usually concern themselves with the protection of minors, Japanese legislation attempted to crack down on "compensated dating", where schoolgirls date and sometimes have sex with adults. Following changes in the country's counter-terrorism policy, a host of other security threats that called for a more robust Japanese military were identified, notably from North Korea. Using these two cases, David Leheny posits that when states abide by international agreements to clamp down on transnational crime and security concerns, they respond not to an amorphous international problem but rather to more deeply held and proximate fears. Drawing on diverse sources, including parliamentary debate records and contemporary film and literature, Leheny argues that international norms can serve as political tools, allowing states to enhance their coercive authority. With notes and index.
Think Global Fear Local: Sex, Violence and Anxiety in Contemporary Japan
PublisherCornell University Press