The New Political Forces Emerging in Japan
The failure of the Democratic Party of Japan government to meet voters’ expectations for fundamental change and the declining prestige of established political parties has resulted in new political forces entering the spotlight, like the “Osaka Restoration Association.” This series examines these emerging political tendencies in Japan in a bid to uncover whether they are simply the latest incarnation of voter dissatisfaction or rather a development aimed at transforming Japan’s political landscape.
- Japan’s Independent Voters, Yesterday and TodayTanaka Aiji
Japan’s independent voters have undergone remarkable growth and now amount to half the electorate. Because of a poor understanding of their interests, however, politicians and pundits find them hard to read. Waseda University Professor Tanaka Aiji explains where they came from and what issues they want parties to address.
- From Local Juggernaut to National Leader—Can Hashimoto Make the Leap?Machidori Satoshi
Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Tōru is one of several dynamic young local leaders bent on building a national organization capable of making a splash in the next general election. Analyzing this phenomenon in the context of Japan’s dual political system, Machidori Satoshi asks whether the charismatic, confrontational style that has served Hashimoto and his ilk so well at the local level can translate into success in the national arena.
- Is the Democratic Party of Japan Just a Reincarnation of the LDP?T. J. Pempel
For decades now the need for fundamental political and economic reform in Japan has been clear. And change seemed at hand when the Democratic Party of Japan took over the reins of government back in 2009. Some three years later, though, the DPJ is looking more and more like the Liberal Democratic Party it replaced. In this article, T. J. Pempel, a political science professor at the University of California, Berkeley, examines how the reformist impulses of the DPJ (and of the LDP under Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichirō) have been checked by the sluggish political status quo.