The challenges of information society: A Japanese perspective

25.09.2019 (All day) - 26.09.2019 (All day)

Ülikooli 18, Senat Hall

Globalization and the growing connectedness/ interdependence of the world have challenged Japan in reshaping its institutions and practices during the last decades. The country faces similar challenges as many European countries – globalization and economic competitiveness, declining demography, digitalization, changing needs on the employment market which all have a deep impact on the organization of education. Japan faces the challenges to adjust to global trends, but, at the same time, to retain its unique culture and identity in the changing world of the 21st century.

With the new EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement in background which entered into force in February 2019, our conference/ doctoral seeks to strengthen and expand the dialogue between Japan and Estonia/ Europe and discuss the contemporary societal challenges and solutions with experts from and on Japan.  

This event is organized around lectures by different plenary speakers from Japan, Estonia:                                  

Prof. Komori Hiromi (Waseda University), Prof. Aizawa Shin´ichi (Sophia University), Prof. Annette Bradford (Temple University), Prof. Ota Hiroshi (Hitotsubashi University), Prof. Nakamura Kazue (Meiji University, Tokyo), Prof. Hashimoto Yorimitsu (Osaka University), Margit Juurikas (University of Tallinn), Prof. Sato Asuka (Tohoku Institute of Technology), Prof. Faith Hatani (University of Copenhagen), Prof. Ari Kokko (University of Copenhagen, University of Tartu), Prof. Yamakawa Ryuichi (University of Tokyo), Prof. Sekine Yuki (Kobe University), Johanna Vallistu (Expert of the Foresight Centre; Tallinn University of Technology, PhD student)

Deadline for registration by web-form is September 18th, 2019.

Reading material for the workshops will be made available for the registered participants by September 20th, 2019.

The plenary lectures and the conference sessions will be open to MA and PhD students. A series of closed roundtable discussion sessions are organized to help participants to deepen and refine their understanding of these topics through concentrated discussions.

1 ECTS points will be awarded for full participation in the program.

We welcome participants from across disciplines at PhD and MA levels of study.


Wednesday, 25 September 2019
08:30-09:00 Registration




Introductory remarks by Dr Elo Süld, Head of University of Tartu Asian Centre


Welcome and greetings by Prof. Margit Sutrop (Dean of Faculty of Arts and Humanities)

Welcome and greetings by Prof. Raul Eamets (Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences)

Welcome and greetings by Mr Haijme Matsumura (Chargé d'Affaires a.i, Embassy of Japan)

9:30–10:00 Keynote lecture by Prof. Komori Hiromi (Waseda University, Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Science)
History education on the verge of university entrance exam reform
10:00–10:30 Coffee break
10:30–12:30 Session 1 “Opening up of the higher education to the international market”
Moderator: Eva Liias

Prof. Aizawa Shin´ichi (Sophia University)
“Human development and Higher education in Japan: Lessons from late-industrialization to globalization era”

Prof. Annette Bradford (Temple University)
“The role of English in internationalizing Japan's universities”

Prof. Ota Hiroshi (Hitotsubashi University)
"International students in Japan: changing policies and practices"

12:30–14:00 Lunch for registered participants
14:00–16:00 Session 2 “Modern Literature as a reflection of society on social problems”
Moderator: Ene Selart (University of Tartu)

Prof. Nakamura Kazue (Meiji University, Tokyo)
“The culture of erotic escapism: Enchi Fumiko as a prototype of "Boys Love" and the problem of women's sexual subjectivity in modern to contemporary Japan”

Prof. Hashimoto Yorimitsu (Osaka University)
“How the Invisible Man Appears in Japan: Revelation and Subversion of the Gender Hierarchy”

Margit Juurikas (University of Tallinn)
"Japanese twiterature – the case of Wagō Ryōichi"

16:00–16:30 Coffee break



Workshops for students:

  1. “Opening up of the higher education to the international market”
  2. “Modern Literature as a reflection of society on social problems”
18:30-20:00 Doctoral school dinner

Thursday, 26. September 2019

08:50–09:00 Opening (Dr Elo Süld, Head of UT Asian Centre)
09:00–11:00 Session 3 “Impact of the digital society on labour market” 
Moderator:  Prof. Urmas Varblane (University of Tartu)

Prof. Sato Asuka (Tohoku Institute of Technology)
“Digital society and Japanese labor market”

Prof. Faith Hatani (University of Copenhagen)
“Japan’s challenge in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI): opportunities and obstacles”

Prof. Ari Kokko (University of Copenhagen, University of Tartu)
“The EU-Japan Trade Agreement”


Coffee break

11:30–13:30 Session 4: “Impact of the Digital Society on Labour Relations and Law”
Moderator: Prof. Merle Erikson (University of Tartu)


Prof. Yamakawa Ryuichi  (University of Tokyo)
“Technological Innovation and Labour Policy”

Prof. Sekine Yuki (Kobe University)
“New technologies and robots in the care sector: their legal implications”

Johanna Vallistu (Expert of the Foresight Centre; Tallinn University of Technology, PhD student)
“Estonian future of work scenarios from the perspective of the atypical work”

13:30–15:00 Lunch for registered participants
15:00–16:30 Workshops for students:

3. “Impact of the Digital Society on Labour Market”

4. “Impact of the Digital Society on Labour Relations and Law”

After discussion, cake and coffee

The working language of the seminar is English and participation is free of charge.

Contact: Elo Süld (

The workshop is co-organized by the University of Tartu Asian Centre, the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, Doctoral School in Economics and Innovation, Doctoral School of Behavioural, Social and Health Sciences, Institute of Cultural Research, College of Foreign Languages and Cultures, School of Law, School of Economics and Business Administration. The event is financed by the University of Tartu ASTRA Project PER ASPERA (European Regional Development Fund), the Faculty of Social Science.