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Lecture#5-The Democratization of Japan Part II

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Political Science
Lynette Ong

Ernie Tam 2011-10-13 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 everything • Increasing inclusiveness of participation as the franchise expands o Pattern 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 War. o Helped 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 attitudewas very pessimistic and negative about democracy. Expressed in an uncertain language. Ernie Tam 2011-10-13 • Contrast this to the Thais’ positive embrace of democracy. Weakness of Japan’s democracy is traced back to the system Americans designed for them. o No 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. o Just like Israeli Party (30 years) • What kind of democracy does Japan have? o 2002 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) THE LDP • 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? o External factors like Cold War o Legacies from earlier periods o Opposition marginalized from the beginning and adopted radical measures. Ernie Tam 2011-10-13 o Nature of Japan’s electoral systemSingle vote transferable systemMultimember districts where you were required to voted for individual candidates not party.  Manipulated the system • Increasingly adverse environment in terms of stagnant growth, high level of corruption, environmental degradation was the result from the LDP’s rule. • Declining popular support for LDP o Explains the weaknesses of the opposition parties rather than the strength of the LDP. • In the 1955 system, (pre 94 and psot 94), Pre 94, in relatively small districts, you voted for the person. The LDP in these electoral
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