Home > Hot topics
LDP
Landslide Victory for LDP in 2016 Upper House Election

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Kōmeitō won comfortably in the House of Councillors election on July 10, 2016. The LDP nonetheless ended one seat short of its first simple majority in 27 years.
(More)

Two Decades Behind: How to Give Women a Bigger Voice in Japanese PoliticsMiura Mari

Japan has one of the lowest rates of female representation in politics of any country in the world. What are the reasons for Japan’s lack of progress in this area, and what can be done to improve the gender balance in Japanese politics?
(More)

The Difficult Role of the Top Opposition PartyMachidori Satoshi

The Democratic Party of Japan, which governed from 2009 to 2012, failed in its quixotic attempt to block the government’s national security legislation by joining forces with protesters outside the Diet. The DPJ must return to a textbook approach to its role as the top opposition party if it hopes to regain power.
(More)

Timeline for September 2015

Security legislation is passed in the House of Councillors, record-breaking rain causes major flooding in the Kantō and Tōhoku regions, and Japan wins a historic victory over South Africa at the Rugby World Cup. An overview of the key news stories for September 2015.
(More)

Thinking about Okinawa (1): A Historical Perspective on the US Military Presence

Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi’s staunch opposition to the Futenma relocation plan has deepened the rift between the local and central governments. In the first of a three-part series, political experts shed light on the issues involving US bases in Okinawa, host to 74% of American military installations in Japan.
(More)

Okinawan Identity and the Struggle for Self-DeterminationShimabukuro Jun

Since Onaga Takeshi’s successful campaign for governorship of Okinawa last fall, “Okinawan identity” has emerged as a rallying cry for unified opposition to plans for a replacement facility for US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma inside Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawan political scientist and activist Shimabukuro Jun explores the meaning of Okinawan identity in a historical context, focusing on the postwar experience of “structural discrimination.”
(More)

Weighing Vote Disparity in Japan’s Upper HouseTakenaka Harukata

The House of Councillors has been criticized for being too powerful, undermining the policymaking efforts of the cabinet in a divided government and making Japan’s parliamentary democracy dysfunctional. It has also failed to heed the Supreme Court’s warnings to fundamentally rectify voting-power disparities between electoral districts. As a result, some are now beginning to question the legitimacy of the upper house.
(More)

Clock Ticking Down on Upper House ReformTsuchiya Hideo

The House of Councillors is currently in a state of unconstitutionality, and unless sweeping reforms are enacted quickly, next summer’s election will no doubt be judged to be unconstitutional.
(More)

The Rightful Role of the House of CouncillorsOyama Reiko

The House of Councillors, Japan’s parliamentary upper house, was once seen as a mere rubber-stamping body. But since 1989 it has been a stronghold for whatever parties are out of power, and as such has managed to stifle ruling-party legislation. Is there a way for Japan to overcome this dysfunctional situation?
(More)

A First Step Toward Reform of Japan’s Agricultural Cooperative SystemYamashita Kazuhito

The government has embarked on the first overhaul of Japan’s agricultural cooperative system in around 60 years. Yamashita Kazuhito takes a look at the history of this powerful institution—whose influence stretches beyond farming to the worlds of politics and finance—and ponders its future role.
(More)

Video highlights

New series

バナーエリア2
  • From our columnists
  • In the news