Trust plays a key role in long-term social relations, fostering cooperation and thereby contributing to the development of a prosperous society. Trust is the willingness of one party, the trustor, to believe that another party, the trustee, will do a certain thing in the future which is beyond the trustor’s control. As the basis of social relations, trust is fragile and must thus continuously be built and rebuilt.
In the case of Japan, this was particularly evident following the March 11, 2011, triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown), when the public’s trust in government institutions dropped dramatically due to what was perceived as poor crisis management. But even before, numerous studies have found that the level of trust Japanese show towards other people and society is rather low when compared to other countries.
Against this backdrop, the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (VSJF) and the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB), supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation and the DFG, will hold the annual VSJF conference in 2014 on “Trust and Mistrust in Contemporary Japan” from 21 to 23 November 2014 at the JDZB.
The conference seeks to assess the role trust plays in Japanese society today, taking a cross-disciplinary approach. It asks how recent developments in Japanese society, politics, and economy as well as the triple disaster have affected trust levels.
Language of the conference is English.