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Chapter 7

POL215Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Party System, Parliamentary System

Political Science
Course Code
Lynette Ong

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Ernie Tam
How East Asians View Democracy-Chapter 7 Japanese Attitudes an
Values Towards Democracy
“Ultimately, democratic legitimacy is established when no other system of
governance is perceived as a viable alternative”-Linz and Stepan
Big Ideas
Japan has a well established democratic system and the ideal of
democracy is strong among citizens but paradoxically, Japanese
citizens are highly dissatisfied with the performance of the system and
The Japanese understanding of democracy is static and system
oriented rather than dynamic and process oriented b/c of the American
establishment of the system. (no active participation beforehand)
Age and generation is a factor in influencing perception of democracy.
(esp. among young people)
When economy is not a concern, democratic values are more of a
concern. (Inglehart’s theory)
Possible explanation of pessimism towards democracy: Japanese
culture to be unassertive and low key in their involvement in the
democratic system.
Intriguing Case
Japan is the longest established democracy in East Asia and had
enjoyed a brief period of democratic reform in the Taisho era. (Before
World War II)
Industrialization was started earlier too.
Historical Background of Japanese democracy
First Stage of democracy 1945-1955
oParliamentary system was a multi party system
oThere were many minority governments/coalitions formed during
this period
oConservative and progressive camps competed for seats
oA lot of political strife through the breakup of political parties and
Second Stage of Democracy 1955-1993
oNew Party system: One Party dominance
oEmergence of LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) with the
amalgamation of Conservative forces
o38 years of uninterrupted ruleJapan Socialist Party (JSP) was
not a viable alternative to the LDP.
oLDP suffered a brief decline in 1960s and even lost power in
oCame back into power afterwards and dominated again
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