POLI/INTL 355, Review 2, Spring 2017

Bill Newmann


Is Japan changing?

Can Japan change?


Themes in Japanese political culture:

1. Homogeneity



                                *Koreans in Japan


                *status of women

2. *uniqueness

3. *isolation

4. *borrowing

5. *geography

                *relationship of geography to Japanese independence (never experiencing colonialism)

6. *communitarian

                rice growing and community

7. adaptability/organizational ability

8. *emperor

9. *power behind the scenes

lack of confrontation


Political History:

1. Growth of Feudal Japan

centralization of government

Feudal Japan


                *Samurai culture--loyalty, self sacrifice

*Tokugawa family unifies Japan


2. Tokugawa era:

*unification/centralization of power


*Trade with Dutch


3. Meiji Restoration

Birth of modern Japan

*A restoration and revolution

*1853: Commodore Perry and US ultimatum

Trade Treaties

Effect on Tokugawa rule

1868 – overthrow

                *Satsuma and Choshu clans

                *Restoration of Emperor


Meiji era reforms

*Borrowing – Iwakura Mission

1889 constitution


                Genro role


Military reforms

*Sino-Japanese War 1894-5

*Russo-Japanese War 1904-5


4. Nationalism and War:

*Nationalists vs. Institutionalists

Manchuria - 1931

*Into the rest of China - 1937

*Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere


                *Rape of Nanjing


End of WW II


*Gen. Douglas MacArthur (as Emperor of Japan?)



                *Article 9

*1946 Constitution

*Emperor: Post-war position


                House of Councillors

                House of Representatives

                                1994 Electoral Reform

Single-member districts (SMD)

                                                Proportional Representation

Prime Minister

                Electing Prime Ministers (know the PPT slides on this)

New PM without election (resignation of PM)

                No-Confidence vote: This will be on the exam

PM dissolving Diet (Know how this differs from other parliamentary processes)




*The power of the bureaucracy and why Japan may be incapable of change

Administrative Vice Minister

*Iron Triangle and how each member plays its part


*The "1955 System"

*Liberal-Democratic Party

                *LDP Factions

                *Tanaka Kakuei and power behind the scenes

*Japan Socialist Party/Social Democratic Party of Japan

Why does the LDP dominate? (know all the reasons)

*LDP’s money advantage

*LDP and rural vote: how the House of Representatives is gerrymandered to favor rural vote

*Public Works spending

Consensus Politics

One and a Half Party System          


Japanese economy (“Japan Inc.”) (Ignore the PPT slideshow on Japan Inc.)

*A miracle

*A model

*Business-Government partnership

*Yoshida Doctrine

Administrative Guidance

Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) now METI

*Lifetime employment

*The Salaryman


Japan Since 1990

*Collapse of Bubble economy

*Recession beginning in 1990

*LDP scandals and PM’s resigning (1989-1993) (know the extent of it, not the details of any scandals)

Electoral reform bill and hopes it would create two-party system

*1993 election

Fate of LDP in election

Fate of SDPJ in election

*Not-LDP coalition

*Collapse of Not-LDP coalition/LDP back in power

*Ozawa Ichiro’s role

*Two party system?

                *New Frontier Party

*Democratic Party of Japan


LDP challenged by opposition: opposition failed to bring down LDP

Reform of LDP rules for choosing LDP leader

Challenging the LDP from within: Election of Koizumi Junichiro


*Administrative Reform

*Prime Minister power


*Koizumi’s reform plans

*breaking the iron triangle

*Japan Post Office System

*Opponents of reform

*LDP anti-reform faction bosses

*Iron Triangle/Bureaucracy

*Postal reform bill is defeated

*Koizumi calls elections 2005

*The political stakes

*Election results

*Postal reforms passes

*A revolution?


Koizumi retires

LDP back to old ways

*2008-2009 recession

*Election of 2009

*DPJ victory

*Is it a Two Party system?


*Great East Japan Earthquake

*Fukushima Nuclear Plant

*The damage

*The Government response

Election of 2012

*Abe Shinzo