The Local Politics of Kyoto

The Local Politics of Kyoto

The Local Politics of Kyoto

The Local Politics of Kyoto

Excerpt

Political issues must be considered in terms of political opposition or conflict, because they become manifest only when they are raised as such by political opposition. Often cleavages and conflicts are intensified along policy lines between parties in power and those in opposition. However, they often become issues when covered in the mass media or when they are articulated by intellectuals. This is where intellectuals play a significant role in politics.

In Kyoto, the opposition at the national level, the JCP, had been in power locally for nearly three decades, while the national establishment, the LDP, had been out of power. For this reason, during that period the prefectural government under the Ninagawa administration played a symbolic role as a stronghold of the opposition forces at the national level.

Two forms of conflict exist in all societies: the conflict of interests and the conflict of values. In Japan, and especially in Kyoto, the former has been characterized by the conflict between capital and labor; big business and small enterprises; the public sector and the private sector; agriculture and industry; urban population and rural population; manufacturers and consumers; the national government and the local government; the parties in power and the parties out of power; the elite and the masses. The conflict of interests has increasingly become a zero-sum game in the mass society and therefore the superiority of one over the other is only relative. A conflict of interests is not necessarily antagonistic but often complementary, and allows for compromise.

On the other hand, a conflict of values does not bring about a zero-sum situation, and therefore tends to be absolute and antagonistic. Compromises are less feasible in a conflict of values than of interests. A conflict of values includes the conflict between capitalism and communism; liberalism and nonliberalism . . .

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