Abstracts & Papers in Stream 2

The definition of a social safety net is changing in Japan; it can be defined with two aspects. One aspect is a series of social insurances and social security being provided by the government as well as by private organizations, namely social security, universal health insurance, unemployment insurance, etc. Social assistance program is one of them, and it is considered the last resort in Japan. Another aspect of a social safety net is community-based initiatives being organized by the effort of local councils of social welfare, welfare commissioners, and other community-based organizations. Those community-based approaches have a long history, but it is the Social Welfare Act of 2000 that set a base for those activities to be more profound. Today's social safety net is interwoven by those two aspects. The fineness of a social safety net is, therefore, defined how well those two aspects work together especially as a result of public-private partnerships. The depth of a social safety net, on the other hand, is defined by the work of welfare commissioners and social workers within a community. This paper explores the changing definition of a social safety net and the roles of welfare commissioners and social workers in Japan. Providing an accountable safety net is no-longer a solo obligation of the government. It is more important to consider a safety net as a result of local governance (i.e. collaboration of the public sector, private sector, and community/informal sector). At the end, the paper suggests empowerment evaluation as a way to develop a collaborative relationship among them.

In this study, I question whether social enterprise can significantly help work integration of persons with disabilities (or PWDs). Particularly, I analyze the case of Korea which recently passed a bill (or Social Enterprise Support Law, SESL) setting the disabled as one of four target groups. Unlike former state-led policies, not all but some cases showed that social enterprises can create numerous decent jobs for the disabled if some conditions are met. The result illustrates four issues. First, people with disabilities are excluded in the labor market: not only their chance of getting a job is more restricted than other socially disadvantaged groups, but also the insufficient jobs allotted to the disabled are unevenly distributed by the type and severity of illness. Second, the tendency of state-led initiate distinguishes Korean social enterprises both from European ones and U.S. non-profit organizations. Third, although people with disabilities were excluded from the legislation process, they actively adopted themselves in order to participate as a social enterprise. Fourth, networking with other organizations, especially with for-profit firms is essential for work integration of the disabled. By this study, I hope Korea's experience to be a worthy guideline for other Asian countries in initiating social enterprises which stands for the disabled. If further cross-national studies are followed, it will be much beneficial in modeling Asian disabled-centered social enterprises.

Full paper download:Kim Y_disabilities in social enterprises.pdf

This paper focuses on the functions of the bureaucrat-led network in the local disability policy and its leadership in Japan. The local government in Japan is required to formulate its own disability policy and implement it. However, there exist not a few "wicked problems" that contain cross-cutting, complex issue related to disability policy and existing social resources solely cannot solve them. It is the Community Independence Support Conference (CISC) provided for by the independence support law for persons with disabilities that addresses this issue. In 2006, Japanese Government partially delegated the authority of decision making of disability policy to the local government. The discretion was given to local government that enables to formulate its own disability policy. To use the discretion effectively, CISC was set up in each local government. This CISC is a mandated "bureaucrat-led network" which includes persons with disability, their family, those who support them, and administrative bodies under the local government. Its aim is to try to create the policy partnership at local level to solve these "wicked problems". The local government, traditionally based on hierarchy, will host this network style council, CISC. Therefore, a lot of confusion has occurred these days. Some local governments which don't understand the importance of CISC are reluctant to hold this meeting. Others make good use of this CISC as brains in the policy formation process for working on their "wicked problems". As a result, the disparity of level of disability policy formation among local governments began to widen. This paper explores the functions of CISC and desirable leadership to lead CISC. This analysis will contribute to identifying challenges in the disability policy formation process in local government.

Full paper download: Takebata H_bureaucrat-led network in local disability policy.pdf

With acceleration of rapid economic development, there is a clear improvement in the livelihoods of the disabled in China. The improvement in the livelihoods of the disabled in the economic well-being has enhanced the general treatment of physical, intellectual, or psychological impairment and the overall participation of the disabled in society. However, the clear improvement in their livelihoods generally comes from the benefit of economic development, not from the relevant role of social policy that is specifically directed towards people with disabilities. In particular, the Chinese government in the field of social services has not paid closer attention to the requests or needs of the disabled in their livelihoods; they are not the main target population of social services in China and are still regarded as "people excluded from the policy mainstreaming. With respect to the social model of disability in China, this paper argues that the Chinese social policy will require a great effort to make major improvements in the following; promoting their physical and mental health, reducing exclusion by society, and promoting the participation of people with disabilities in society.