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Traditional Japanese Cooking in the Home: An Endangered ArtIwamura Nobuko

Washoku, the “traditional dietary culture of the Japanese,” was recently inscribed on the UNESCO list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. Iwamura Nobuko, a researcher into food and family life in modern Japan, looks at what “home cooking” really means for people in Japan today.
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The Quest for Voting Equality in JapanMasunaga Hidetoshi

Under Japan’s existing electoral system, the value of a single vote varies considerably depending on the district where it is cast. Lawyer Masunaga Hidetoshi argues that Japan will become a true democracy only when these disparities are corrected.
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What Japan’s Farmers Really Need Is FreedomAsakawa Yoshihiro

While welcoming Prime Minister Abe’s decision for Japan to participate in the TPP free trade talks, agricultural journalist Asakawa Yoshihiro takes issue with the Abe administration’s farming policy, calling for bold moves to free Japan’s farmers and food producers.
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Abenomics and the Government’s New Growth Strategy

The Diet convened for an extraordinary session on October 15. Prime Minister Abe Shinzō is determined to use this session to pass legislature to support his new national growth strategy. Major aims include a bill to boost Japan’s industrial competitiveness, which will be essential for the success of the prime minister’s “Abenomics” program and growth strategy.
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The Politics of the Tax Hike and AbenomicsTakenaka Harukata

On October 1, the cabinet of Prime Minister Abe Shinzō decided that the government would raise the consumption tax rate from 5% to 8% as scheduled next April. Below I provide a political interpretation of why it reached this decision. In recent months, Prime Minister Abe repeatedly acknowledged that he would carefully make the final judgment about the hike while taking into account its impact o…
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Japan in Pursuit of Westminster DemocracyTakenaka Harukata

Since the 1990s Japan has undertaken a raft of political reforms designed to foster more efficient and effective government. Takenaka Harukata assesses the outcome of these institutional changes, the lingering obstacles to majoritarian democracy in Japan, and the implications for policymaking under the second Abe cabinet.
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Why Do Japan and Italy Change Prime Ministers So Often?Ikeya Tomoaki

In the 1990s both Italy and Japan introduced single-seat constituencies to their electoral systems in an attempt to encourage two-party politics. Since then both have had frequent changes of prime minister. Political scientist Ikeya Tomoaki examines the similarities and differences in the workings of the two countries’ political systems.
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The Role of the Kantei in Making PolicyMakihara Izuru

The Prime Minister’s Official Residence, known as the Kantei, can be thought of as Japan’s answer to the White House: it serves as both home and headquarters to the nation’s chief executive, and its name is a metonym for that top government office. But until relatively recently, a powerful bureaucracy and a tradition of decentralized decision making, added to the inherent constraints of Japan’s parliamentary system, had reduced the Kantei to little more than an onlooker in the actual policymaking process. Makihara Izuru traces the development of “Kantei leadership,” from the dawn of the LDP’s hegemony in 1955 to the present.
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The Value of a Vote: Addressing the Disparities in Japan’s Electoral SystemMizushima Asaho

For more than 50 years Japan has seen lawsuits against disparities in the value of voters’ ballots, with sparsely populated districts punching above their weight compared to crowded urban ones. The courts now appear to be moving to address this unconstitutional status. Is change afoot?
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Abe Shinzō’s Second Cabinet (December 2012)

After the general election of December 16, 2012, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Kōmeitō wrested power back from the Democratic Party of Japan. On December 26, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō announced the lineup of his second cabinet.
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