Myles Carroll | Capital & Class
This article explores elements of contemporary Japan’s long-term and deep-rooted organic crisis. It is a crisis with various inter-related components, including a long-term economic crisis that has now spanned nearly three decades, a political crisis that brought about significant upheaval and discord, particularly in the 1990s and 2000s, and a cultural crisis characterized by widespread popular anxiety over the future, all without any clear alternative in sight, echoing Gramsci’s understanding of organic crisis as conditions under which ‘the old is dying and the new cannot be born’. This article considers how conditions of social reproduction have been affected by the crisis. It argues that efforts to restore conditions for profitable accumulation pursued in the wake of economic stagnation in the 1990s and 2000s, including labor market reform, led to the decline of what Mari Miura has called Japan’s ‘welfare-through-work’ model of welfare, and the emergence of a new employment and welfare regime that provides little job security for a growing number of workers has led to a disconnect between conditions deemed necessary for capital accumulation and those necessary for stable and progressive social reproduction, prompting a crisis of social reproduction.