The culmination of research projects directed by Robert Putnam through the Trilateral Commission and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, these papers present new data that allow more direct comparisons across national borders and more detailed pictures of trends within countries than previously possible. They show that citizen disaffection in the Trilateral democracies is not the result of frayed social fabric, economic insecurity, the end of the Cold War, or public cynicism. Rather, the contributors conclude, the trouble lies with governments and politics themselves. The sources of the problem include governments' diminished capacity to act in an interdependent world and a decline in institutional performance, in combination with new public expectations and uses of information that have altered the criteria by which people judge their governments.
Although the authors diverge in approach, ideological affinity, and interpretation, they adhere to a unified framework and confine themselves to the last quarter of the twentieth century. This focus--together with the wealth of original research results and the uniform strength of the individual chapters--sets the volume above other efforts to address the important and increasingly international question of public dissatisfaction with democratic governance. This book will have obvious appeal for a broad audience of political scientists, politicians, policy wonks, and that still sizable group of politically minded citizens on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific.
Curtis rejects the notion that cultural distinctiveness and consensus are the defining elements of Japan's political decision making, emphasizing instead the competition among and the profound influence of individuals operating within particular institutional contexts on the development of Japan's politics. The discussions featured here—as they survey both the detailed events and the broad structures shaping the mercurial Japanese political scene of the 1990s—draw on extensive conversations with virtually all of the decade's political leaders and focus on the interactions among specific politicians as they struggle for political power.
The Logic of Japanese Politics covers such important political developments as
the Liberal Democratic Party's egress from power in 1993, after reigning for nearly four decades, and their crushing defeat in the "voters' revolt" of the 1998 upper-house election;
the formation of the 1993 seven party coalition government led by prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa and its collapse eight months later;
the historic electoral reform of 1994 which replaced the electoral system operative since the adoption of universal manhood suffrage in 1925; and
the decline of machine politics and the rise of the mutohaso—the floating, nonparty voter.
Scrutinizing and interpreting a complex and changing political system, this multi-layered chronicle reveals the dynamics of democracy at work—Japanese-style. In the process, The Logic of Japanese Politics not only offers a fascinating picture of Japanese politics and politicians but also provides a framework for understanding Japan's attempts to surmount its present problems, and helps readers gain insight into Japan's future.
The electoral system Japan established in 1955 resulted in a half-century of "one-party democracy." But as Krauss and Pekkanen detail, sweeping political reforms in 1994 changed voting rules and other key elements of the electoral system. Both the LDP and its adversaries had to adapt to a new system that gave citizens two votes: one for a party and one for a candidate. Under the leadership of the charismatic Koizumi Junichiro, the LDP managed to maintain its majority in the Japanese Diet, but his successors lost popular support as opposing parties learned how to operate in the new electoral environment. Drawing on the insights of historical institutionalism, Krauss and Pekkanen explain how Japanese politics functioned before and after the 1994 reform and why the persistence of party institutions (factions, PARC, koenkai) and the transformed role of party leadership contributed both to the LDP's success at remaining in power for fifteen years after the reforms and to its eventual downfall. In an epilogue, the authors assess the LDP's prospects in the near and medium term.