Like other representative democracies, Japan has been facing democratic challenges which have eroded democratic representation, political accountability and legitimacy. The voter-turn-out for the last Lower House elections, for instance, was at a record low. Consequently, the legitimacy of the parliamentary representatives was diminished. Decreasing trust in state elites has additionally fueled the political abstinence. To counteract this (partial) democratic “crisis”, Japanese national and local governments have implemented numerous democratic innovations, or in other words new institutionalized forms of participatory decision-making processes, especially deliberations.
Based on theoretical concepts dealing with the quality of democracy and with democratic innovations (Diamond and Morlino 2005; Smith 2009; Geissel 2012), this talk asks whether implementing deliberations can counteract the “crisis” of Japanese representative democracy. Therefore, two deliberative methods, namely mini-publics and deliberative polls, are evaluated in this talk.
Momoyo Hüstebeck, University of Duisburg-Essen