cover of book

The Contradictions of Neoliberal Agri-Food: Corporations, Resistance, and Disasters in Japan
by Kae Sekine and Alessandro Bonanno
West Virginia University Press, 2016
Paper: 978-1-943665-19-8 | eISBN: 978-1-943665-20-4
Library of Congress Classification HD9016.J32S45 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 338.10952

Employing original fieldwork, historical analysis, and sociological theory, Sekine and Bonanno probe how Japan’s food and agriculture sectors have been shaped by the global push toward privatization and corporate power, known in the social science literature as neoliberalism. They also examine related changes that have occurred after the triple disaster of March 2011 (the earthquake, tsunami, and meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor), noting that reconstruction policy has favored deregulation and the reduction of social welfare.
Sekine and Bonanno stress the incompatibility of the requirements of neoliberalism with the structural and cultural conditions of Japanese agri-food. Local farmers’ and fishermen’s emphasis on community collective management of natural resources, they argue, clashes with neoliberalism’s focus on individualism and competitiveness. The authors conclude by pointing out the resulting fundamental contradiction: The lack of recognition of this incompatibility allows the continuous implementation of market solutions to problems that originate in these very market mechanisms.
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