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The New Face of Japanese Politics?


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Title: The New Face of Japanese Politics?

The New Face of Japanese Politics?
Strong contender prime ministerial hopeful
Junichiro Koizumi accepts flowers at a reception
hosted by a faction of his Liberal Democratic
Party at a Tokyo hotel. Mr Koizumi quit his
faction to gain broader appeal.
End to faction friction probably fiction
  • Factions are not separated by ideology, because
    Japanese politics is less about policies than
    personalities. The factions thrive on personal
    relationships. New members of the LDP join one of
    the factions and give the faction leader their
    loyalty and vote. In return, they are given
    political support and campaign funds. They work
    their way up through the faction until they
    become a senior member or even faction leader,
    and the name of the faction changes.

Tanaka Makiko and Koizuimi Junichiro
Firebrand lashes 'indecisive' PM
  • Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has suffered a
    potentially devastating attack on his reform
    credentials by the woman who propelled him to
    power his former foreign minister, Makiko
  • In the first interview since her dramatic
    midnight sacking sent the cabinet's ratings
    tumbling by more than 20 per cent, Ms Tanaka
    accused the Prime Minister of being envious,
    indecisive and a prisoner of the faction system
    he promised to destroy.

Firebrand lashes 'indecisive' PM
  • She accused Mr Koizumi of allowing his cabinet to
    be run by one of the most reviled faction bosses
    in the LDP - former prime minister Yoshiro Mori.
  • Her tenure in office was plagued by battles with
    LDP leaders and bureaucrats who were not used to
    dealing with a minister who did not take orders.
    They leaked stories about her tantrums, but when
    she complained, a senior figure in the Mori
    action told her the best way to ensure civil
    servants' loyalty was to do what they said.

Bevy of ninja 'assassins' to serve 'last samurai'
Koizumi in election
  • Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has staked his
    political future on the poll and his prime weapon
    for defeating high profile defectors from the
    Ruling Liberal Democratic Party who oppose his
    plan to privatize Japan's postal system is a bevy
    of the best and brightest daughters of the Land
    of the Rising Son.
  • Koizumi insiders say the result of the Sept. 11
    poll will hinge on female voters, and the prime
    minister sees the women running on his side as
    shikaku (??)," a term that literally means
    assassins, but is being used in this election to
    describe "killer candidates."

"The LDP is no longer a liberal or democratic
party," he (Kobayashi, a rebel) protested at a
recent press conference between the two
candidates (Kobayshi and Koike).
So, Koizumi seems to be changing the faction
based structure of the LDP.
  • But who wants to rewrite the constitution?

His Successor Shinzo Abe
  • Democratic miracle
  • Tatemae structure of government
  • Honne functioning of government
  • Issues from cold war to corruption and

Japans Political System
The Parties in the System
The Bureaucrats in the System
How democratic is Japan?
  • Are individual rights protected?
  • Is the will of the people adequately transmitted
    through the politicians to be made into laws?
  • How does group orientation persist in a
    democratic system?
  • Does the the party system and bureaucratic
    administration support or hinder democracy?
  • Are the issues the Japanese are concerned about
    dealt with effectively?

Democratic Miracle
  • Democracy was an alien concept to Japan, but it
  • Foundations of stable governance political
    unity, administrative efficiency, ethical
  • Capacity for change regional differences,
    tradition of borrowing, peaceful rotation of
    leadership, emperor based shift,
  • Forced democratization to repeal the unequal
    treaties American constitution and
  • institutions, entrance fee
  • into Western alliance

Tatemae the structure of the government system
  • Sovereign Power from Emperor (?? tenno) to
    constitution (?? kenpo)
  • The Diet (Kokkai??) houses of representatives
    (Shugiin ???) and councilors (Sangiin ???),
    representation for laws and cabinet appointments
  • The Executive Prime Minister (???? soridaijin),
    cabinet (?? naikaku) and bureaucracy
  • The Judiciary (??? Shihobu) constitutionality of
    laws and investigative courts
  • Local Government (??? chijitai) prefectures and
    municipalities, elections and local issues, taxes
    and central control

Article 9 Of the Japanese Constitution
Renunciation of War
  • Aspiring sincerely to an international peace
    based on justice and order, the Japanese people
    forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the
    nation and the threat or use of force as means of
    settling international disputes.
  • In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding
    paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as
    other war potential, will never be maintained.
    The right of belligerency of the state will not
    be recognized.

Individual Rights
  • Article 11. The people shall not be prevented
    from enjoying any of the fundamental human
    rights. These fundamental human rights guaranteed
    to the people by this Constitution shall be
    conferred upon the people of this and future
    generations as eternal and inviolate rights.
  • Article 12. The freedoms and rights guaranteed to
    the people by this Constitution shall be
    maintained by the constant endeavor of the
    people, who shall refrain from any abuse of these
    freedoms and rights and shall always be
    responsible for utilizing them for the public
  • Article 13. All of the people shall be respected
    as individuals. Their right to life, liberty, and
    the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent
    that it does not interfere with the public
    welfare, be the supreme consideration in
    legislation and in other governmental affairs.
  • Article 14. All of the people are equal under the
    law and there shall be no discrimination in
    political, economic or social relations because
    of race, creed, sex, social status or family

Individual rights expressed through
  • Article 15. The people have the inalienable right
    to choose their public officials and to dismiss
  • Article 21. Freedom of assembly and association
    as well as speech, press and all other forms of
    expression are guaranteed.
  • Article 24. Marriage shall be based only on the
    mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be
    maintained through mutual cooperation with the
    equal rights of husband and wife as a basis.
  • With regard to choice of spouse, property rights,
    inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and
    other matters pertaining to marriage and the
    family, laws shall be enacted from the standpoint
    of individual dignity and the essential equality
    of the sexes.
  • Article 26. All people shall have the right to
    receive an equal education correspondent to their
    ability, as provided by law.
  • Article 28. The right of workers to organize and
    to bargain and act collectively is guaranteed.
  • Article 29. The right to own or to hold property
    is inviolable. Property rights shall be defined
    by law, in conformity with the public welfare.

The Gift from Beate Sirota Gordon
  • Born in Vienna, the daughter of a famed
    Russian-Jewish pianist, she spent her childhood
    in pre-war Tokyo, where her father was invited to
    teach at a prestigious music academy. In 1938,
    she was sent to California to study at Mills
    College, renowned for its strong ideas on women's
    rights. Fluent in six languages, she joined the
    US war information office when America joined the
  • She returned to Japan on Christmas Eve, 1945, to
    search for her parents who had stayed there and
    were imprisoned because of their background. One
    of only a few Americans fluent in Japanese and
    well versed in the culture, she landed a job with
    General Douglas MacArthur, in the department that
    drafted a new Japanese constitution - in seven
    days. She was assigned to the civil rights
    section, where she drafted women's rights
    articles. She was only 22.
  • She knew exactly what it was like to be a
    Japanese woman at that time, having witnessed the
    reality of their pre-war life under the rule of
    their fathers and husbands. Unless women were
    happy, she thought, there would be no true peace
    in Japan, and sexual equality was a prerequisite.
  • Alas, most of her drafts on women's rights were
    deleted at the screening stage despite her
    tearful pleas - except for Article 24. It defined
    sexual equality in marriage, in the choice of a
    spouse, property rights, inheritance, divorce,
    and so on - all revolutionary changes from
    pre-war Japan.

Generic Outline of Government Institutions
  • Roles of Constitutions
  • Establish the rights and obligations of the
  • Separate and designate the powers of government

Regional/Local Governments 47 Prefectures
(Governors Assemblies) Cities, Towns, Villages
(Mayors and Councils)
Structure of Government
Japans Political System
House of Representatives and House of Councillors
Japans Electoral Systems
House of Councillors House of Representatives
Electoral Districts Electoral Districts Electoral Districts
Proportional representation 1 nationwide district 11 nationwide districts
Smaller districts 47 prefecture-level multi-member districts 300 single-seat electoral districts
Number of Members Number of Members Number of Members
Proportional representation 96 180
Smaller districts 146 300

Term 6 yrs (1/2 every 3 yrs 4 yrs (or earlier)
Legislative Procedure
(No Transcript)
Government Administered Space
 Number of Local Civil Service Employees (as of
April 1, 2002)
Honne functioning of government
  • Party factions
  • Elections and electioneering
  • Policy formulation legislative deal making

Honne functioning of government
  • Party (?? toha) factions (??habatzu)
  • The LDPs internalized factions
  • leader-follower groups,
  • advancement ladder,
  • party consensus formation,
  • The externalized factions of the old left and the
    new center

The Political Spectrum
Center democratic, market economics, progressive
social policies
Old Left
Extreme left
Authoritarian, nationalistic, capitalistic
Authoritarian, nationalistic, state ownership
New Center
Extreme Right
Old Center Right Liberal Democratic Party
Old left Communists, Socialists, Democratic
New center Democratic party of Japan, New
Komeito, Liberal Party, Social Democratic Party,
21st Century club
House of Representatives (Sept 2005)
Number of Representatives
Liberal Democratic Party 295
Democratic party of Japan and Club of Independents 113
New Komeito 31
Communist Party 9
Social Democratic Party 7
The People's New Party and New Party Nippon and Group of Independents 6
Independents 19
Vacancies 0
House of Councillors (Sept 2005)
Number of Representatives
Liberal Democratic Party 112
Democratic party of Japan and Shinryokufukukai 82
New Komeito 24
Communist Party 9
Social Democratic Party 6
The People's New Party, New Party Nippon 4
Independents 5
Vacancies 1
(No Transcript)
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Honne functioning of government
  • Elections and electioneering
  • The new balance between minority representation
    and change
  • disproportional representation
  • local connections (the Koenkai ???) and party
  • money needs and noise.

Honne functioning of government
  • Policy formulation legislative deal making
  • short duration ministers,
  • continuous bureaucracy,
  • bureaucratic control of Prime Ministers Office,
  • bureaucratic turf wars,
  • business governance and
  • quasi-business operation
  • interest group bargaining
  • political party compromise

Issues from cold war confrontation to corruption
and environment.
  • Cold war ideological separation of parties to
    alignment on market principles
  • Corruption transformation in perception of
    politician, bureaucrat and business relations to
    policy based politics
  • Environment central vs. local approaches, e.g.
    nuclear power vs. local political power
  • The Rise of China economic threat, resources,
    history, trade
  • Others the American alliance, the Constitution,
    decentralization, deregulation, recession,
    education, womens rights, aging population etc.

Teacher temper over Japan flag lawsSome see
Koizumi's dispatch of troops to Iraq as a sign of
rising nationalism in Japan.
  • But for some in Japan, the flag of the rising sun
    and the lyrics to the "Kimigayo (The Emperor's
    Reign)" anthem are painful reminders of the
    militant nationalism that led to World War II.
  • Now, the government says public school teachers
    must honor the flag, stand-up and sing the anthem
    at school ceremonies, whether or not they agree.
  • If not, they may be fired.

Teacher temper over Japan flag laws
  • In April, around 180 teachers at metropolitan
    senior high schools or schools for disabled
    children were reprimanded for behaving
    "unprofessionally" during graduation ceremonies
    the previous month, the education board said.
  • English teacher Toru Kondo has repeatedly refused
    to stand for the anthem. "Please stand up but
    don't force people who don't like to stand up and
    sing the national anthem," he said. "I will not
    stand up, never stand up."
  • Some parents fear the effect the rules will have
    on their children."These are my children. They
    are not the hostages or resources of the Tokyo
    Board of Education," one mother says.

The enforcement of the law, which was put forth
in 1999 by then prime minister Keizo Obuchi,
comes at a unique time in Japan's post-WWII
history. Current Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
has recently sent troops from its Self Defense
Force to Iraq, amid much public fear the soldiers
could be drawn into conflict which would go
against Japan's pacifist 1947 constitution.
SCMP Tuesday, May 11, 2004Japan's main
opposition leader stands down
  • Naoto Kan has stepped down as leader
  • of Japan's largest opposition party because
  • he missed 10 months of mandatory pension
  • payments, throwing his party into turmoil two
  • months before elections.
  • Mr Kan's resignation after 17 months as
  • head of the Democratic Party of Japan follows
  • Fukuda quitting the post of chief government
    spokesman on Friday after disclosing he skipped
    pension contributions for more than three years.
  • Revelations that ministers and lawmakers from at
    least three parties failed to pay pension
    contributions has sparked public discontent at a
    time when Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's
    government is trying to raise payments and slash
    retirement payouts.

How democratic is Japan?
  • Are individual rights protected?
  • How does group orientation persist in a
    democratic system?
  • Is the will of the people adequately transmitted
    through the politicians to be made into laws?
  • Does the bureaucratic administration support or
    hinder democracy?
  • Are the issues which concern the Japanese dealt
    with effectively?

Japans Voting Rate
Minbo no Onna (anti-extortion woman)
  • Minbo criminal acts disguised as civil law
  • Storyline Abuse of the law by Yakusa (gangsters)
    to extort money from a hotel and use of the law
    by hotel staff to fight back
  • What expectations are both sides counting on?
  • How does the lawyer enlist the help of the courts
    and police?
  • How is local citizens power expressed in the
  • Where do you see the extreme right wing?