The Economist eulogizes the LDP

In its Banyan column, the Economist documents the rise and fall of the Liberal Democratic Party, in effect writing the LDP's obituary before the party's death.For the most part it is a handy review of a fascinating organization, whose history is virtually synonymous with Japan's postwar political history. Indeed, the genius of the LDP system …

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Low posture to blame for Fukuda’s problems?

In Japanese postwar political history, the phrase "low posture" — 低姿勢, teishisei — is most associated with Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato (1960-1964). No mere slogan, the phrase signaled an end to the Kishi era, which ended in violence in the streets of Tokyo.The Ikeda era would be one of "tolerance and patience," of working with …

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Recommended Book: Democracy Without Competition in Japan, Ethan Scheiner

"First-rate economics, third-rate politics."This phrase has long been shorthand for the LDP's half-century of nearly uninterrupted rule, despite corruption and high levels of unpopularity among the Japanese people (although of late there might be some convergence between economics and politics).Japanese and non-Japanese scholars have concocted numerous explanations for the LDP's enduring hold on power. Some …

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Thinking about Japanese democracy

With the Upper House elections now a week away, it is worthwhile to step back and think about Japan's political system. At least that's what I did recently, reading Bradley Richardson's Japanese Democracy: Power, Coordination, and Performance — this month's recommended book.Published in 1997, Richardson's book is obviously not the place to go for analysis …

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