In a world dominated by considerations of material and security threats, Japan provides a fascinating case for why, and under what conditions, a state would choose to adopt international norms and laws that are seemingly in direct conflict with its domestic norms. Approaching compliance from within a constructivist framework, author Petrice R. Flowers analyzes three treaties—addressing refugee policy, women's employment, and the use of land mines—that Japan has adopted. Refugees, Women, and Weapons probes how international relations and domestic politics both play a role in constructing state identity, and how state identity in turn influences compliance.
Flowers argues that, although state desire for legitimacy is a key factor in norm adoption, to achieve anything other than a low level of compliance requires strong domestic advocacy. She offers a comprehensive theoretical model that tests the explanatory power of two understudied factors: the strength of nonstate actors and the degree to which international and domestic norms conflict. Flowers evaluates how these factors, typically studied and analyzed individually, interact and affect one another.
About the author
Petrice R. Flowers is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where she teaches courses in international relations and Japanese politics.
"This is a welcome addition to the international relations and political science literature. In its multidimensional focus on international norms, domestic policy decisions, and the influence of civil society on government decisions, it will be of interest to fellow researchers and to conveners of courses on international relations, international law, Japanese law, political science, and Asian Studies."
—Vera Mackie, Japanese Studies
"[Refugees, Women, and Weapons] advances an exciting and original argument on international norm adoption and compliance and makes an important contribution to the constructivist school of international relations . . . Flower's book will stand tall in the bookshelves of many scholars of Japan and international relations."
—Apichai Shipper, Journal of Japanese Studies
"[T]he principal argument on the importance of identity politics in diffusion of human rights norms is an important contribution to the literature. The case studies are comprehensive and well researched. This volume is recommended to everyone interested in international norms and human rights."
—Minako Ichikawa Smart, H-Net
"Refugees, Women, and Weapons uses complex and compelling arguments about norm adoption and compliance to shed new light on Japanese efforts to adapt to changing international standards of a 'civilization.' This sophisticated, fascinating book is an important contribution to the study of Japanese politics and constructivist international relations theory."
—Derek Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University