Collected Writings of J.A.A. Stockwin: The Politics and Political Environment of Japan

By J. A. A. Stockwin | Go to book overview
Save to active project

First published in Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Conference, Japanese Studies Association of Australia, July 1991 (Australia-Japan Research Centre, Australian National University)


18

Challenge and Response, or Challenge and Failure to Respond?: The Nihon Shakaitō under Doi Takako

MOST TEXTBOOKS about the contemporary politics of Japan start from the perception that its salient feature is quasi-permanent single party dominance by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Around this has formed a structure of bureaucratic and business-oriented power that is complex, replete with checks and balances and somewhat pluralistic. It exhibits some highly problematic features, notably slow response in situations of crisis, a tendency to corruption and a failure to present the electorate with real policy alternatives. Some, on the other hand, argue that although extremely conservative, the Japanese system of politics gives to the Japanese people continuity of administration, political stability, an atmosphere in which it is possible to plan for the long term, and a conspicuously professional, if bureaucratic, approach to many areas of policy making. Perhaps the biggest issue facing Japan in the 1990s is whether the political system can be made more accountable, less corrupt and more responsive in situations of need without destroying the stability, professionalism and predictability that have been its strong features.

This paper will not concern itself with these vital issues, but rather with a contingent feature of the political system which bears on the question of single-party dominance. For the most part, the fact that the LDP has been in power without interruption since it was formed in November 1955 is taken as a political 'given', and if the reasons for its continual occupancy of national office are analysed at all, they are attributed to its success in delivering economic growth and prosperity, the relative stability that has been a feature of its rule, the flexibility and 'creativity' of its conservatism, its use of the resources of power at its disposal to 'buy off' and politically neutralise a succession of interest groups which at various times have put in challenges, its proven ability to maintain a network of support at local level through access to superior financial resources, and skill in using the multi-member constituency system to its own advantage.

While agreeing that these explanations-or some combination of them-have substance, we wish to focus on an aspect of causality that is rather rarely

-236-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Collected Writings of J.A.A. Stockwin: The Politics and Political Environment of Japan
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 551

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?