2008 年 1 巻 1 号 p. 60-69
Since the mid-1990's, the comparative study of welfare states and social policy in Japan has been strongly influenced by international research trends. However, these comparative studies are now at a turning point because severe criticisms have been aimed at them. The aim of this paper is to clarify what comparative study has accomplished and what remains undone, and what challenges face us still. First, I examine the unsolved problems during the fifteen years that have passed since the appearance of Esping-Andersen's Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Especially, it is stressed that it is crucial to develop a 'dynamic' analysis of welfare states and social policy with eliminating the previous static typology. Second, by examining arguments about the East Asia Welfare Regime, I advance the argument that many East Asian states remain 'productivism' welfare regimes. In conclusion, it is stressed that comparative research in the future must contribute to fruitful debates about policies that influence the future trajectories of Japan and other East Asian states.