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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Verena Blechinger

Verena Blechinger
Politics
(Senior Research Fellows, February 1, 1997 - January 31, 2002)

Reforms in the political system of Japan


The point of departure for this research is the reform process now underway in Japan, which has been accelerated above all by the interim loss of power in 1993 of the long- ruling LDP. Measures so far introduced such as the reform of the electoral system, revised regulation of political financing, and the legal status of political parties are analyzed for appropriateness and effectiveness. This is intended to contribute to discussion of the extent to which these reforms are bringing about a genuine change in the Japanese political system and the consequences which this brings with it.


Conservative Parties


The Japanese political party landscape has been fundamentally altered since 1993. In particular, the LDP, once the sole perennial ruling party, finds itself facing competition from a second large conservative force: the Shinshintō or New Frontier Party, formed by several “reform parties”, in part derived from the LDP itself. The focus of research here is on how these parties differ in their programs and political activity.


Politics and religion


One influential group within the New Frontier Party (Shinshintō) consists of those politicians who belonged to the former Clean Government Party (Kōmeitō), which was sympathetic to the Buddhist lay organization Sōka gakkai (Value-Creating Society). An analysis is offered of the relationship between this religious group and Shinshintō and the extent to which it influences the attitudes and actions of former Kōmeitō members and present Shinshintō parliamentarians. Following this is an attempt to elucidate the overall relationship between politics and religion and to demonstrate links between political parties and religious communities.


Japan’s foreign relations


The determining factors in Japan’s foreign policy have been altered by the end of the Cold War, China’s ever more pronounced claims to power in Asia, and the ongoing political and economic tensions between Japan and the United States. The goal of this study is to show how Japan is reacting to these new parameters. Providing the focus are Japan’s role in the process of growing regional integration in Asia and security questions.

DIJ Projects

Japan in Asia

Politics in Japan

Social Transformation in Modern Japan: State, Family and Individual

Completed DIJ Projects

Politics and the Internet

Publications

Editorship

2000
[With: Legewie, Jochen] Facing Asia - Japan's Role in the Political and Economic Dynamism of Regional Cooperation. Monographien aus dem Deutschen Institut für Japanstudien Vol. 24. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 328 p., hardcover
2000
[With: Berkofsky, Axel] Newsletter . DIJ Newsletter 11, October 2000. Tokyo: iudicium Verlag.
1998
[With: Legewie, Jochen] Japanstudien 10. Japans neue Rolle in Asien. Japanstudien 10. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 431 p., hardcover

Articles

2001
Politische Reformen in Japan: Auswirkungen und Perspektiven
In: Institut fur Asienkunde, Patrick Köllner; Bosse, Friederike (Ed.) Reformen in Japan. Hamburg: p. 89-110.
2001
Between Bilateralism and Regionalism: Business and the State in Japan's Relations with Asia
In: Bert Edström (Ed.) Interdependence in Asia Pacific. Stockholm: Swedish Institute for International Affairs.
2001
Singapur
In: Jürgen BELLERS, Thorsten BENNER, Ines M. GERKE (Ed.) Handbuch der Außenpolitik. Von Afghanistan bis Zypern. München, Wien: R. Oldenbourg Verlag. p. 987-990.
2000
Cleaning up Politics and Revitalizing Democracy? A European View of the New System of Political Finance in Japan
In: European Review 8, 4 (October 2000). p. 533-551.
2000
Auf dem Weg zu "sauberer Politik" und transparenten Strukturen? Korruption und Selbstreinigung in der japanischen Politik
In: Zentrum für Europa- und Nordamerika-Studien (Ed.) Politische Korruption. Jahrbuch für Europa- und Nordamerika-Studien 3, 1999. Opladen: Verlag Leske + Budrich. p. 145-184.
2000
Flirting with Regionalism: Japan's Foreign Policy Elites and the East Asian Economic Caucus
In: Blechinger, Verena; Legewie, Jochen (Ed.) Facing Asia - Japan's Role in the Political and Economic Dynamism of Regional Cooperation. Monographien aus dem Deutschen Institut für Japanstudien 24.00. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 328 p., hardcover
2000
[With: Legewie, Jochen] Action and Reaction, Direct and Indirect Leadership: Re-evaluating Japan's Role in Asian Regional Cooperation
In: Blechinger, Verena; Legewie, Jochen (Ed.) Facing Asia - Japan's Role in the Political and Economic Dynamism of Regional Cooperation. Monographien aus dem Deutschen Institut für Japanstudien 24.00. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 328 p., hardcover
1999
Changes in the Handling of Corruption Scandals in Japan Since 1994
In: Asia Pacific Review 6, 2, November 1999. p. 42-64.
1999
Verwaltungsreform - Auf dem Weg zum schlanken Staat
In: Meyer-Ohle, Hendrik; Legewie, Jochen (Ed.) Japans Wirtschaft im Umbruch: Schlaglichter aus dem Deutschen Institut für Japanstudien (The Japanese Economy in Transition : Highlights Presented by the German Institute for Japanese Studies). DIJ Publications. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 133 pp., paperback
1999
Korruption und Einflußnahme - Parteienfinanzierung durch die Wirtschaft
In: Meyer-Ohle, Hendrik; Legewie, Jochen (Ed.) Japans Wirtschaft im Umbruch: Schlaglichter aus dem Deutschen Institut für Japanstudien (The Japanese Economy in Transition : Highlights Presented by the German Institute for Japanese Studies). DIJ Publications. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 133 pp., paperback
1998
Money Politics in Japan (or, Pork Corrupts, and Absolute Pork Corrupts Absolutely).
In: Social Science Japan, Newsletter of the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo 12, March 1998. p. 30 - 32.
1998
Politische Korruption in Japan. Ursachen, Hintergründe und Reformversuche
In: Mitteilungen des Instituts für Asienkunde Hamburg Nr. 291. Hamburg:
1998
Zwischen Bilateralismus und Regionalismus: Die innenpolitische Debatte über eine neue politische Rolle Japans in Asien [Between Bilateralism and Regionalism: The Domestic Debate about a new Political Role for Japan in Asia]
In: Blechinger, Verena; Legewie, Jochen (Ed.) Japanstudien 10. Japans neue Rolle in Asien. Japanstudien 10.00. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 431 p., hardcover
1998
[With: Legewie, Jochen] Japans neue Rolle in Asien: Einleitung [Japan's New Role in Asia: Introduction]
In: Blechinger, Verena; Legewie, Jochen (Ed.) Japanstudien 10. Japans neue Rolle in Asien. Japanstudien 10.00. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 431 p., hardcover
1996
Politik und Familienbande. "Erbabgeordnete" im japanischen Parlament
In: Nachrichten der Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens (NOAG) 159-160 (1996). p. 71 - 87.
1996
Reformfieber (gyōkaku fība) oder Opportunismus? Zur Diskussion über die Verwaltungsreform in Japan [Reform Fever (gyōkaku fība) or Opportunism? The Debate on Administrative Reform in Japan]
In: Janssen, Edzard; Dirks, Daniel (Ed.) Japanstudien 7. Reformen im politökonomischen System Japans. Japanstudien 7.00. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 495 p., hardcover

Reviews

2000
Nakasone, Yasuhiro: The Making of the New Japan. Reclaiming the Political Mainstream. Translated and annotated by Lesley Connors. Surrey: Curzon Press, 1999, 256 S., US$ 49,-/¥7680
In: Liscutin, Nicola; Haak, René (Ed.) Japanstudien 12. Essen und Ernährung im modernen Japan. Japanstudien 12.00. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 343 p., hardcover
1998
Stephan Peters: Das politische System Japans und seine Veränderungen nach dem Juni 1993. Eine geschichtliche, gesellschaftliche und politische Analyse aus abendländischer Perspektive
In: Nachrichten der Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens (NOAG) 161-162 (1997). Hamburg: p. 257-261.
1996
Masumi, Junnosuke: Contemporary Politics in Japan. Translated by Lonny E. Carlile. Berkeley, Los Angeles und London: University of California Press, 1995. 514 S., Hardcover DM 148,-; Paperback DM 50,-
In: Gebhardt, Lisette; Kreitz-Sandberg, Susanne (Ed.) Japanstudien 8. Interkulturelle Perspektiven Japan - Deutschland. Japanstudien 8.00. Munich: iudicium Verlag. 426 p., hardcover

Other Articles

1999
Und ewig rollt der Yen. Parteienfinanzierung durch die Wirtschaft in Japan
In: Japan-Markt, Mai 1999.
1999
Book Review
In: Brüggemann, Ferdinand; Fuess, Harald (Ed.) Newsletter. DIJ Newsletter 7.00. Tokyo: iudicium Verlag.
1998
Schlank auf dem Weg ins 21. Jahrhundert? Das Verwaltungsreformprogramm der Regierung Hashimoto
In: Japan-Markt, Februar 1998. Tōkyō: Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer in Japan. p. 17-18.
1998
Eine schnelle Wiederbelebung der Wirtschaft als letzte Chance für den Machterhalt der LDP
In: Japan-Markt, September 1998. p. 3-6.
1997
[With: Lützeler, Ralph] Zurück zum 55er-System? Ein Rückblick auf die Unterhauswahlen vom Oktober 1996.
In: Newsletter. DIJ Newsletter 1.00. Tokyo: iudicium Verlag.
1997
Recent Publications in German on Japanese Politics, Society, and Economics
In: Social Science Japan, Newsletter of the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo 11, November 1997. p. 29.

Presentations

October 8, 1998
Between Bilateralism and Regionalism: The Domestic Debate in Japan about a Future Japanese Leadership Role in Asia and the EAEC. Regional Cooperation in Asia: Will Japan stand up toa Leadership Role?.

May 27, 1998
Channeling the Cash Flow: The New Regulations for Political Donations in Japan and their Influence on Political Corruption. Channeling the Cash Flow: The New Regulations for Political Donations in Japan and their Influence on Political Corruption.

July 17, 1998
Political Corruption and Factional Power Play - the Issue of Political Reform and the Demise of the LDP One-Party Rule. Political Reform in Japan - Entering a New Era of Japanese Democracy?.

CV


February 1997-January 2002
Research associate at the German Institute for Japanese Studies

December 1996
Completion of doctorate in political science at Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich

March 1996-December 1996
Academic fellow at the Institute of East Asian Studies and Japanology at Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich

March 1995-March 1996
Scholarship grantee at the German Institute for Japanese Studies

1993-1995
Academic fellow at the Institute of East Asian Studies and Japanology at Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich

1991
Master's degree with a thesis on Japanese family law since 1945

1989
Student at Dōshisha-University (Kyōto)

1985-1991
Studied Japanology, political science and law at Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich

1966
Born in Deggendorf