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Democrats Elect Renhō as Party President

On September 15 Renhō won a three-year term as president of the Democratic Party, becoming the first female head of the main opposition party. Not since Doi Takako controlled the Japan Socialist Party (today the Social Democratic Party) in 1986–91 has a woman led a party with over 100 Diet seats. The Democrats are looking to Renhō to restore the party’s image following meager showings during the l…

The Greening of Japanese Politics?Winifred Bird

When Greens Japan emerged as a national political organization in July 2012, the timing for success seemed perfect. Sixteen months had passed since the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster of March 2011. The Japanese public was saturated with news of government incompetence linked to the triple disaster, fed up with mainstream politics, and, to a greater degree than ever before, eager for a t…

Party Leaders Debate Ahead of July 2016 House of Councillors Election

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and other Japanese party leaders took part in a debate on June 21, 2016. The Constitution, the economy, and other key issues are likely to dominate discussion during campaigning for the July 10 House of Councillors election.

The Political History of the Consumption Tax

In June 2016, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō once again postponed the next consumption tax hike. The rate will climb from 8% to 10% in October 2019, fully four years after the originally planned date. In this article we trace the history of consumption tax policy in Japan.

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?

Impact of New Teenage Voters UncertainTobias Harris

This summer’s House of Councillors elections will be the first in which Japan’s 18- and 19-year-olds can vote. Ahead of this historic vote, the Asahi Shimbun conducted a mail survey of soon-to-be-eligible young voters, seeking to understand how they view Japanese politics and society. It received valid replies from 2,109 respondents. The survey found that young voters are less favorably dispose…

Where Is Asia in the US Presidential Debates?Jeffrey Hornung

To the average voter, the US presidential campaign is a cacophony of claims, boasts, assertions, and inaccuracies—virtually all of it focused on domestic issues. What is missing from the contenders still on the campaign trail is any informed discussion of the most important region of the world—the Asia-Pacific—and how their administrations would approach the region to promote US interests. The …

Will Lowering the Voting Age Change Japanese Politics?Sugawara Taku

In June 2015, an amendment to the Public Offices Election Act lowering the voting age from 20 to 18 was enacted by the Diet. Starting with next year’s House of Councillors contest, over 2 million new voters will be able to take part in elections. Political commentator Sugawara Taku examines the potential impact of the new voting age on the Japanese political landscape.

Prime Minister Abe’s Trip to the United States: The Official and the UnofficialGlen S. Fukushima

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s eight-day trip to the United States from the end of April to early May was, officially speaking, a success. He was welcomed warmly in the four stops he made―in Boston/Harvard University, Washington DC, San Francisco/Stanford University, and Los Angeles―by his American hosts, most of whom viewed him as a reformer on economic issues and an advocate of strong US-Japan secu…

Local Election Roundup: Strong Showing for Ruling Parties amid Weak Turnout

On Sunday, April 12, ballots were counted in the first wave of this year’s “unified local elections,” a nationwide set including 10 gubernatorial contests. (The second wave is scheduled for April 26.) Yesterday’s voting also selected mayors for five major cities, city assemblies for 17 cities, and prefectural assembly members for 41 of Japan’s 47 prefectures. Two gubernatorial elections, those …

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