POL215Y1 Lecture Notes - Democratic Consolidation, Tactical Voting, Stock Market

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Published on 18 Nov 2011
Ernie Tam
Lecture #5-The Democratization of Japan Part II
From 1890 and onward, Japan adopted the Meji constitution. You see a
slow transition to democracy with an executive dominant system.
Growth of expectations that executive would hold accountable
Increasing inclusiveness of participation as the franchise expands
oPattern of political change that is alike 1890s Middle Kingdom
Evolution of democratic norms is interrupted by the Depression and
the rise of Right winged Conservatives.
Resumption towards democracy was very different in 1945. The
American occupation was not so analagmous.
John Dower’s magisterial study “embracing defeat”documents the
enthusiasm of Japan to accept Americans.
Made Americans think that their reforms were very successful.
Innocent idealism of American reformers who were ignorant of
Japanese history turned out to know very well what was required for
Japan. (interesting irony)
Administrations in the Occupation came out of the army. Many
Japanese first generation were trained In war
Americans put into place many things that are required for democracy
in the institutions, constitution, land reforms, got rid of feudalism,
created emergence of unions etc…
Fragility of this experiment is excessive ambitions; tempered by Cold
oHelped consolidated democracy as Americans had to back away
from extreme destabilization. (The Cold War)
We are left with the sense that democracy was transplanted in the
wrong way and that is why it is dysfunctional.
Japan’s attitudewas very pessimistic and negative about democracy.
Expressed in an uncertain language.
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Ernie Tam
Contrast this to the Thais’ positive embrace of democracy. Weakness
of Japan’s democracy is traced back to the system Americans designed
for them.
oNo involvement from the Japanese themselves and as a result,
does not feel connected to the system.
LDP dominance and implication of one party rule.
Interestingly enough, the Chinese in perpetuating their one party rule,
they looked at the Japanese model. 1995-2009 (exception 1993), the
LDP’s record as the dominant ruling party is without parallel.
oJust like Israeli Party (30 years)
What kind of democracy does Japan have?
o2002 and 2003 data in the wake of Japan’s nuclear crisis, there is
a wave of discussions that would reveal fundamental alienation.
Rapid alternation between Prime Ministers for the LDP leaders.
Major dysfunctional: system that has an inherent weakness on Prime
Ministers. (no strong leader)
Only other party that approached the record of Japan’s LDP party rule
is social democratic party of Sweden (65 years)
LDP was dominating Japanese Politics for 54 years.
The implications for the quality of Japanese democratic practice.
Why was the LDP so dominant?
oExternal factors like Cold War
oLegacies from earlier periods
oOpposition marginalized from the beginning and adopted radical
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