Parties and Politics in Contemporary Japan

Parties and Politics in Contemporary Japan

Parties and Politics in Contemporary Japan

Parties and Politics in Contemporary Japan

Excerpt

Japan recently experienced the greatest mass movement in her political history. Thirteen million people signed petitions requesting dissolution of the House of Representatives and the holding of new elections. Six million workers supported these efforts with work stoppages. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens, many of them completely new to political activities, demonstrated in Tokyo streets and around the Diet building. No Japanese political movement of the past has equaled this in terms of mass participation and sustained activity. Its leadership, its tactics, and the broad causative forces that created it are likely to be the subjects of intensive analysis for the indefinite future.

The immediate issues in this crisis were the revised United States-Japan Security Treaty and the methods used by the Kishi government in obtaining its passage. But underlying these issues were others that pertained to the whole nature of Japanese politics in theory and in practice. This was the type of episode which, fully analyzed, might lay bare the very roots of the Japanese political process.

Will the May 19 incident and its aftermath achieve for Japan the symbolism achieved by the May 4 movement in . . .

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