Tetsuro Kobayashi: Territorial Issues and Support for the Prime Minister: A Survey Experiment on Rally-‘Round-the-Flag Effect in Japan
Abstract: China’s expanding military presence and increasing tensions between Japan and China over sovereignty are often regarded as one reason for a conservative shift in Japan’s public opinion. However, in Japan, there have been little experimental studies on how threat perceptions increase support for conservative leaders and policies. In the present study, we applied the studies of rally-‘round-the-flag effect conducted mainly in the U.S. into perceived threat of China in Japan. We found that perceived threat of China increases anger toward China but anger toward China was not related to support for Prime Minister Abe. Although ATE of threat perceptions from China did not have significant effect on support for Prime Minister Abe, one’s historical beliefs regarding Japanese colonial rule in China served as an important moderating factor. Specifically, it was revealed that threat perception increases support for the Prime Minister among those with liberal historical beliefs but decreases support for the Prime Minister among those with conservative historical beliefs. Such moderating effect of one’s historical beliefs strongly suggests the need to consider unique historical and cultural contexts when studying relationships between international relations and domestic public opinions.
Jörg Hebenstreit: Cyberbalkanization – The Local Fragmentation of the Global Village?
Abstract: There are countless democratic potentials of the Internet especially when it comes to ease and intensify human communication as well as to access a multitude of various information. Nevertheless there is considerable evidence that the use of search engines, Web 2.0 and social media can lead to islands of like-minded people refusing to hear arguments and ideas of their political opponents. This, ultimately, can lead to a dysfunctional public discourse and blocked political systems. So far, this research topic has remained in political science widely neglected, a circumstance the paper is aiming at to resolve.