U-Life Center, 1-4-26 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tōkyō 105
Political Reform in Japan - Entering a New Era of Japanese Democracy?
17. July 1998
Ethnographische Methoden wurzeln in der Anthropologie, wurden jedoch in den Vereinigten Staaten seit den 1920er Jahren auch in der Soziologie eingesetzt. Dadurch hat sich ihr Charakter von einem rein beobachtenden Verfahren hin zu einer Methode entwickelt, die verschiedene Datenerhebungsformen wie Interviews, Dokumentensammlung und andere meist qualitativ orientierte Methoden miteinander kombiniert. In der vergleichenden Forschung wurden solche Verfahren häufig eingesetzt, und gegenwärtig ist in der japanischen Erziehungssoziologie ein Trend hin zu ethnographischen Methoden zu verzeichnen. Dies wurde zum Anlaß genommen, die Entwicklung der Methoden in verschiedenen Forschungskulturen und ihre Möglichkeiten in der vergleichenden Erziehungswissenschaft zu untersuchen.
Einleitend referierte Susanne Kreitz-Sandberg (DIJ) über den Stand ethnographischer Methoden in der sozialwissenschaftlichen Forschung, insbesondere der deutschen und der japanischen Bildungssoziologie. David H. Slater (Sophia Universität/ University of Chicago) untersuchte in seinem Vortrag anhand seiner eigenen ethnographischen Forschungserfahrungen in öffentlichen Oberschulen in Tōkyō die Frage, ob bzw. wie Modelle, die eine Besonderheit der japanischen Gesellschaft ins Zentrum der Analyse stellen, sich mit soziologischen Konzepten verknüpfen lassen und inwiefern ethnographische Studien einen Beitrag zur Gesellschaftsanalyse auf der Makroebene leisten können. Miyazaki Ayumi (Harvard University) präsentierte ein Forschungsprojekt, in dessen Zentrum geschlechtsspezifische Subkulturen an Schulen standen. Yamada Yōko (Universität Tsukuba) berichtete in ihrem Vortrag über ihre teilnehmende Beobachtungen an Berliner Gesamtschulen zur Rolle von Sozialpädagogen bei der sozialen Integration ausländischer Jugendlicher.
Der Workshop machte die vielseitigen Möglichkeiten ethnographischer Methoden deutlich, obwohl – oder vielleicht auch gerade weil – die Diskussion am runden Tisch ein Forum war, in dem auch die Schwierigkeiten solcher qualitativer Forschungsansätze abgehandelt werden konnten. Zwei der Vorträge wurden auf Englisch, zwei weitere auf Japanisch gehalten. Zusätzliche schriftliche Zusammenfassungen in beiden Sprachen ermöglichten es den Teilnehmern, den Ausführungen problemlos zu folgen und sich an der regen Diskussion in der Sprache ihrer Wahl zu beteiligen.
Tag 1 17. July (Friday)
Panel 1: Electoral Reform
Rei SHIRATORI,Tōkai University and Institute for Political Studies in Japan (IPSJ)
Since 1955, the LDP (LDP, Jimintō) ruled without interruption in Japan. Its dominance of the party system was facilitated by the so-called quote;medium sized constitutency systemquote; in the House of Representatives (Shūgiin, Lower House), which elected three to five members from one constituency with a single ballot and simple majority.
In August 1993, the LDP suddenly and surprisingly lost the Lower House elections. It was replaced by a coalition government of eight parties. These were the Social Democratic Party (Shakaitō, SDP), the Japan Renewal Party (Shinseitō, JRP), the Kōmeitō religious Party, the Japan New Party (Nihon Shintō, JNP), the Democratic Socialist Party (Minshatō, DSP), the Sakigake (Forerunner Party), the United Social Democratic Party (Shaminren, USDP) and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation Group (Rengō). This coalition government intended to change the electoral system of the House of Representatives. Accordingly, the National Diet approved a change in the Election Law in March 4, 1994, whereby a simple combined system (heiritsusei) consisting of the single member constituency system and the proportional representation system with party lists of candidates of fixed ranks was introduced. This paper clarifies (1) the motives behind this political process, (2) the manner in which the process was ultimately achieved, and (3) the impact of the change to Japanese politics.
Steven R. REED, Faculty of Policy Studies, Chūō University
There are three things one can always predict about any structural reform such as changing the electoral system: (1) it will not live up to expectations and the dominant tone of commentary after enactment will be negative; (2) because reform changes the incentive structure of politicians, it will change politics in significant ways, some of which are predictable and some of which are not; and, (3) the effect of the reforms will take time to work through the system so that the evaluation of the ten years after enactment will be quite different from the evaluations one or two years after enactment.
From a purely scientific point of view it is much too early to analyze the effects of the new electoral system, but from a practical political perspective it is important to participate in these premature discussions because early unreliable evaluations affect political behaviour much more than scientifically reliable conclusions which come much too late to be of any use to policy makers. Moreover, I believe that political science can make a few reliable generalizations at this early stage which may be of some practical use.
In this paper, I will address two questions: (1) What effects of the new electoral system are already visible? (2) What effects of the new system can be predicted with some degree of confidence?
Finally, I will evaluate the Japanese system from a comparative perspective. Rather than asking whether the reform lived up to expectations or not, I will ask whether the parallel system is better or worse than either single-member districts (SMD) or proportional representation (PR). I will argue that the parallel system has the potential to solve some of the problems of the two most popular alternatives, non-competitive districts in SMD and inability to choose individuals in PR. Ironically, the best aspect of the parallel system may well turn out to be its most criticized feature: the double-candidacy provision by which candidates can run in both SMD and PR.
14.30 - 16:30
Panel 2: Political Finance
Tomoaki IWAI,Department of Human Science, Tokiwa University
Under the slogan of quote;cost-saving politics,quote; the political reforms of 1994 were introduced to alter both the political fund system and the election system. These reforms were designed to realize quote;party-orientedquote; politics and election campaigns, shifting away from quote;politician-orientedquote; political and election campaigns which were seen as the causes of political-fund-related scandals.
Replacing quote;party-orientedquote; politics with quote;politician-orientedquote; politics was also the main objective of reforms in the system of political finance. Donations to individual politicians, for example from companies or labour unions, became strictly regulated, and new rules for financial reports of politicians brought more transparency to political funding. As a result, the total amount of donations to individual politicians decreased tremendously. Also, because of the introduction of a ¥ 30 billion public subsidy program for political parties, the flow of political donations became more quote;party-orientedquote;. In terms of political finance, the influence of political parties on individual politicians increased.
Although the reform laws introduced a quote;party-orientedquote; electoral system, election campaigning is still conducted by the kōenkai of individual politicians. The reasons for this are the still insufficient level of party organization and the ongoing process of party realignment. As a consequence of the persistence of quote;politician-orientedquote; election campaigning, public subsidies for political parties, originally supposed to create quote;party-orientedquote; politics, were finally used to support individual politicians. Moreover, as parties’ local branch offices can often be considered domains of individual politicians, there is a risk of abuse of public funds.
In addition, since it is costly to organize the electorate into kōenkai under the small-constituency system, political funding requirements for individual politicians have not been reduced. Politicians still believe that money is a far better instrument to gain support than policy ideas. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that new corruption scandals will occur in the future. It can also be said that the struggle for acquisition and control over public subsidies plays an important role in the process of party realignment. This presentation will examine the effects of the 1994 reform legislation on parties and individual politicians.
When the LDP lost the House of Representatives elections in 1993, many observers of Japanese politics claimed that the Japanese voters had passed their judgment on the years of LDP quote;money politicsquote; (kinken seiji). In their opinion, the public anger about frequent corruption scandals and the demand for political reform had finally become strong enough to drive the LDP out of power after 38 years of government. While agreeing with the position that ultimately it was the voters who ousted the LDP, this paper argues that the main driving force behind this decision was not public outrage over corruption or a viable opposition which presented itself as devoted to the implementation of reform. Rather, the issues of corruption and reform were used by a group of young LDP politicians, who fomented and manipulated public anti-government sentiment to achieve their own ends. Their ultimate motive was not the reform of the political system. For them, this issue was only a mere instrument in an intra-party power struggle to secure for themselves a position of power otherwise out of reach because of their party’s seniority system.
This paper examines the handling of political corruption scandals under the LDP long-term one-party rule, the so-called quote;System of 1955quote;. Special attention is given to the way the last LDP one-party cabinet under Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi (1991-1993) addressed the issue of political reform, and to the intra-party processes which led to the defeat in the 1993 Lower House elections. It will be shown that the agenda of the main group within the so-called quote;reform coalitionquote; was not a thorough reform of the political system or an end to quote;money politicsquote; and corruption, but first and foremost the will to establish themselves as a new political power.
16.45 - 19:00
Panel 3: Party Restructuring
Ray CHRISTENSEN,Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University
Japan has had three distinct periods of party stability or instability in the postwar period. The initial postwar decade saw constant changes in party names, affiliations and alliances. The next 38 years from 1955 to 1993 saw extreme party stability under what has been called the 1955 system. Beginning again in 1993 Japanese politics entered a phase of extreme party instability with constant reformulations of parties and political groups.
In this paper I review some of the common explanations for the changes in the party system stability, both what occurred in 1955 and in 1993. I then step back and try to identify more systemic explanations of what has occurred in Japan, bringing in a few comparative observations about party stability in other democracies. Japan presents an anomaly in that it has swung between extremes of party stability and instability in contrast to the other advanced industrial democracies.
In attempting to explain this anomaly I present several possible contributing factors to these patterns of party stability. I group these explanations into two categories, cultural and incentives based explanations. Rather than analyzing and judging the explanatory value of each explanation, I simply present a best case for each explanation and leave for the reader to judge whether a persuasive case has been made.
Nobuhiro HIWATARI ,University of Tōkyō, Institute of Social Science
Party politics in Italy and Japan had been renowned for center-right one-party dominance and persistent corruption scandals, and in 1993-94 both Italy and Japan totally revamped their political system, the cornerstone of which being the introduction of a new electoral system. The developments of Italy and Japan in the early 1990s can be regarded as a result of parallel trajectories which can be traced to the mid-1970s. Despite such similarities, however, the postwar party systems of the two countries changed in diametrically opposed ways. In Italy, the five ruling parties disappeared, while the main opposition party, the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) remained relatively intact. In Japan, it was the LDP that emerged unscathed, after producing splinter parties in 1993 and minor defections until the 1996 election, whereas the opposition parties regrouped completely with the exception of the Japanese Communist Party.
The purpose of this article is to explain this contrast in party-system transformation. The collapse of the governing parties in Italy and the opposition in Japan can be explained, I argue, by the relationship between (a) the constraints imposed by the international economy and (b) the employment of state resources by the ruling parties to remain in power and deny the opposition access to power (which I call quote;governing strategyquote;) based on existing party-state relations.
In Italy, the use of state resources by the _pentapartito_ conflicted with the country’s external restraints, whereas in Japan it was the way the dominant faction coopted intra- and inter-party opposition that became problematic and not its policy delegation to the state bureaucracy. The differences in external constraints and the way the ruling parties used the state to maintain power explain why the party systems in Italy and Japan changed in opposing ways.
Tag 2 18. July (Saturday)
10:00 - 12:00
Panel 4: Administrative Reform
Jonathan LEWIS, University of Tōkyō, Institute of Social Science
After Japan’s electoral reform bill was passed in January 1994, the focus of reform efforts shifted from the political parties to the bureaucracy. The long and deepening recession, a succession of high-profile policy failures, and intense media scrutiny of bureaucratic corruption combined to encourage open criticism of the bureaucracy by politicians of all parties. One consequence of this trend has been to bring politicians’ attention to policy areas in which they previously displayed little interest. The Fundamental Law for Science and Technology, a bill drafted by Dietmembers and passed into law by the Diet in November 1995, is a good example of this new activism by Dietmembers in previously unpoliticised areas. An examination of the policy processes behind the Fundamental Law and the Basic Plan for Science and Technology which followed it, suggests, however, that the greater role of Dietmembers is not accompanied by increased autonomy from the bureaucracy in terms of even broad-bush policy-forming functions. As we shall see, despite the loud claims of credit by Dietmembers for drafting the Fundamental Law, such meat as was subsequently put onto the very thin skeleton of the law was provided by bureaucrat-coordinated policy bodies.
The main policy output in this case, an extra 17 trillion yen in government research spending by the year 2000, is also open to a variety of interpretations. It is, for one thing, notable that both the Fundamental Law and the Basic Plan call for a higher level of state involvement in research to bring Japan in line with other advanced economies – and, indeed are justified as a response to foreign pressure for such convergence – at a time when the science policy debate in those other countries is fundamentally reassessing the role of the state in research. for another, the rather high level of building work envisaged under the new policy might be further evidence of an expansion of public works construction politics into new fields as previous funding channels are closed off. These anomalies suggest that there is more behind recent developments in Japanese science and technology policies than the rational arguments of science and technology bureaucrats finding favour with the MOF.
This presentation has three sections. The first section gives the institutional and economic background to the drafting of the Fundamental Law and the Basic Plan which followed it. The second describes the policy processes leading to the Law and the Plan. The final section briefly discusses the Law and Plan with reference to the ongoing debate regarding the role of the state in the funding for science and technology. A detailed analysis of the results of the Plan for Japanese science and technology is unfortunately beyond the scope of this presentation.
Hiromi MUTŌ, Department of Law, Hōsei University
Recommendations for decentralization can be traced to the Shoup Recommendation in 1949 and Kanbe Committee in 1949-1951. In the 1990s, the movement started at the Diet Resolution on Decentralization in June 1993. This was the first time in Japanese history that the Diet resolved to promote decentralization. In principle, decentralization decreases the legal authorities of the Diet, and members of the Diet are therefore reluctant to promote such measures. However, experiences of the second Tentative Advisory Committees for the Promotion of Administrative Reform (the second Rinchō) and the Tentative Advisory Committees for the Promotion of Administrative Reform (the first to third Gyōkakushin) made Diet members believe that it was indispensable for Japanese society to promote decentralization in order to adapt the Japanese political institutions to democratic standards.
This paper examines the recent activities for decentralization in Japan. The focus will be on the Committee for the Promotion of Decentralization. The measures which have been proposed by the Committee, but also the perspectives for their implementation will be discussed. It will be shown that the movement for decentralization has to cope with political, administrative and social limitations.