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Stumbling Over Words: The Growing Communication Gap in Japanese Politics

Words may be the most potent weapon in politics, but they are a double-edged sword. In the social-media age, a slip of the tongue can quickly spell disaster and send a politician scrambling to do damage control. In Japan, a recent spate of gaffes and verbal chicanery among prominent legislators has many experts lamenting a breakdown in communication between leaders in Tokyo and their constituents around the nation.

Lawmaker Close to Tokyo Governor Koike Creates New Political Group (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 7 (Jiji Press)—Japanese lawmaker Wakasa Masaru, who is close to popular Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko, said Monday that he has established the Nippon First no Kai (Japan First), a new political group led by him. Using the group as a stepping stone, Wakasa, an independent member of the House of Representatives, the powerful lower chamber of Japan's Diet, intends to create a new party f…

Abe Reshuffles Cabinet in Bid to Reverse Slumping Approval

On August 3, 2017, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō reshuffled his cabinet for the third time since being reelected premier in 2014, replacing 13 of 19 incumbent ministers. Kōno Tarō was appointed as minister for foreign affairs and Onodera Itsunori was tapped for minister of defense. Noda Seiko returned to the cabinet, taking on the role of minister of internal affairs and communications.

New Polls Show Support for Abe ErodingTobias Harris

Three new opinion polls show Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s approval declining significantly in the wake of his Liberal Democratic Party’s defeat in Tokyo’s metropolitan assembly elections on July 2. In tracking polls conducted by NHK, the Yomiuri Shimbun, and the Asahi Shimbun, the government’s net approval ratings fell into negative territory for the first time since September 2015. Approval fell t…

Koike Camp Wins Landslide in Tokyo Election, Trounces LDP (News)

Tokyo, July 2 (Jiji Press)—Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First), a regional party led by Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko, and forces supporting Koike won a landslide victory in a Tokyo metropolitan assembly election held on Sunday, handing Prime Minister Abe Shinzō's Liberal Democratic Party a historic defeat in the capital. Tomin First leader Koike Yuriko, governor of Tokyo, affixes green flowers…

Noda Eager to Run in 2018 LDP Leadership Race (News)

Tokyo, April 29 (Jiji Press)—Noda Seiko, a senior member of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has expressed her eagerness to run in a party leadership election in autumn 2018. At an April 25, 2017, interview, Noda Seiko speaks of her intent to run for the LDP presidency in autumn 2018. (© Jiji)  In a recent interview with Jiji Press, Noda, former chair of the party's General Council,…

Will There Ever Be a Female Japanese Prime Minister?Yokota Yumiko

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and newly elected Democratic Party President Renhō have helped shine the media spotlight on Japan’s female politicians. However, even as more women step into political leadership roles, there is still a long, hard road ahead before Japan sees its first female prime minister.

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.

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