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Japan: Politics

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  1. Japan: Politics

  2. Outline • Political institutions • parliamentary system of government • National Diet • Prime Minister and Cabinet • bureaucracy • Judiciary • Parties and elections

  3. National Diet • House of Councillors (Upper House) • House of Representatives (Lower House) • choose prime minister • pass budget • ratify treaties

  4. Prime Minister & Cabinet • All are members of the Japanese National Diet • Most are members of the House of Representatives

  5. Prime Minister • Yukio Hatoyama (1947- ) • Prime Minister since yesterday • founder of the Democratic Party • family’s political and economic power • Grandfather was Prime Minister 1954-1956 • assumed father’s seat in the House of Representatives in 1986

  6. LDP • All Prime Ministers of Japan • from 1954 to 1993 • from 1996 to 2009 • were from LDP

  7. The Bureaucracy • Heavy involvement in policymaking: • draft legislation (short and vague laws) • implementing or enforcing legislation • Recruit the best of college graduates • ``Prime Ministers come and go, but we are forever” - A Japanese bureaucrat

  8. Local government • Not a federal system: • local authority delegated by central gov. • 47 prefectures • governors and legislatures • hundreds of municipalities • mayors and city councils • 2/3 of all government spending • 1/3 of all tax revenues

  9. Party Systems before '92 • Combination of multiparty system with sustained dominance of 1 majority party • Chaotic political party system 1946-55 • 2 conservative parties, 2 socialist parties, communist party, & micro-parties • Party merges in 1955 • “One-and-a-Half Party System”

  10. Major Political Parties • Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) • conservative catch-all party • Japan Socialist Party (JSP) • “Japan Peace Party” • Japan Communist Party (JCP) • anti-emperor, anti-capitalism, anti-military • only party untainted by money politics

  11. Party System 1955 - 1992

  12. National Vote Share

  13. Pre-1994 Electoral Rules

  14. Industrial contributions

  15. The Iron Triangle bureaucrats big business executives LDP politicians

  16. Political Earthquake of '93-'95 • Economic stagnation since late 1980s • Major corruption scandals of LDP leaders • 2.5 billion yen contribution from a company • 1 billion yen income tax evasion • LDP Diet members split and some left to form new parties • LDP coalition cabinets since 1996

  17. Prime Ministers 1993-2007 • non-LDP Prime Ministers 1993 - 1996 • LDP coalition cabinets 1996-2007

  18. New Electoral Rules (1996) • 480 members in House of Representatives • 300 elected from single-member districts • 180 elected from 11 proportional representation districts • 252 members in House of Councillors • 100 elected from proportional representation district • 152 elected from 47 prefecture constituencies

  19. Party Realignment (‘90s)

  20. Public support for parties

  21. Japan’s International Role • Yoshida Doctrine (pre-1980s) • political-economic cooperation with U.S. • small national defense expenditure • security guaranteed by U.S. (military bases) • Low-profile foreign policy • Trade policy • Economic superpower (1980s)