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Dynamic and Immobilist Aspects of Japanese Politics

  • J. A. A. Stockwin
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series

Abstract

In November 1987 Nakasone Yasuhiro was replaced as prime minister of Japan by Takeshita Noboru, a politician of the same party that had ruled without interruption since 1955, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Nakasone had been widely regarded abroad as a thrusting dynamic leader determined to exercise personal power in order to ‘settle accounts with the postwar period’. By contrast Takeshita — little known outside Japan hitherto — comes over as a behind-the-scenes politician who hesitates to move politically until he has constructed a broad consensus of opinion behind him. Does this mean, then, that Japan has once again entered a period of immobilist politics after five years of unusually dynamic leadership? Why did an established leader who seemed to have given the government and politics of Japan a much more modern image than it had previously enjoyed have to yield office to someone whose approach appeared traditional and unexciting?

Keywords

Interest Group Political System Liberal Democratic Party Opposition Parti Power Elite 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    For a generally positive view, see Edwin O. Reischauer, The Japanese (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1977) Part 4, and especially p. 297.Google Scholar
  2. See also T. J. Pempel, Policy and Politics in Japan: Creative Conservatism (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  3. For a more critical approach, see Gavan McCormack and Yoshio Sugimoto (eds), Democracy in Contemporary Japan (Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1986)Google Scholar
  4. and Jon Woronoff, Politics the Japanese Way (Tokyo: Lotus Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    T. J. Pempel and Keiichi Tsunekawa, ‘Corporatism without Labor’, in Philippe C. Schmitter and Gerhard Lehmbruch (eds), Trends Toward Corporatist Intermediation (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1979).Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    See Peter N. Dale, The Myth of Japanese Uniqueness (London and Sydney: Croom Helm, 1986).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    For an analysis of élitist and pluralist approaches, see Haruhiro Fukui, ‘Studies in Policymaking: a Review of the Literature’, in T. J. Pempel (ed.), Policymaking in Contemporary Japan (Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press, 1977) pp. 22–59.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    See Chalmers Johnson, MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925–1975 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    J. A. A. Stockwin, ‘The Future of Japanese Party Politics’, Fukuoka UNESCO: Proceedings of the Fifth Kyushu International Cultural Confer-ence, 1982 (Fukuoka: The Fukuoka UNESCO Association, no. 18, 1983) pp. 326–36.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    See Ehud Harari, ‘The Institutionalisation of Policy Consultation in Japan: Public Advisory Bodies’, in Gail Lee Bernstein and Haruhiro Fukui (eds), Japan and the World: Essays in Honour of Takeshi Ishida (London: Macmillan, 1988).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J. A. A. Stockwin 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. A. Stockwin

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