The Annuals of Japanese Political Science Association
Online ISSN : 1884-3921
Print ISSN : 0549-4192
ISSN-L : 0549-4192
Gender and the Operation of Biopolitics/Necropolitics under the COVID-19 Pandemic:
The Case of Contemporary Japan
Hiroko Takeda
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2022 Volume 73 Issue 1 Pages 1_15-1_34


  As in many other countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted graver impacts on women in Japan, as exemplified by a spike of suicide cases across the age groups in 2020. This article argues that the pandemic has had a greater negative effect on Japanese women, because of the ways in which the capitalist economic system and the state governing system that manages the national economy are organized. To do so, the article re-assess the discussion of governmentality by introducing the notion of ‘necropolitics’ set out by Achille Mbembe that sheds light on a fact that the development of capitalism could not be achieved without violent accumulation in the colonized areas in which colonized people were subjugated to the ‘power to let die’. The article particularly pays attention to ‘gender’, through which women are located within the family by taking up particular roles with reference to the demarcation of ‘a family life worth living’. By taking these steps, the article attempts to elucidate the governing logic, with which women face higher risks to fall into the category of the ‘abandoned people’ in contemporary Japan where neoliberalism as a political project plays out with some idiosyncratic features.

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