The Jiminto Rule Assistance Association?

The revelation that Prime Minister Fukuda is seeking a grand coalition with the DPJ has unleashed a flurry of political activity, as the parties and the Japanese people struggle to make sense of the swiftly changing political environment.DPJ backbenchers and rank-and-file supporters have come out resoundingly against the idea of joining a coalition with the …

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The stakes of the anti-terror law debate

The DPJ has wasted no time in using its new found power to pressure the government.Two days into the Diet session, Mr. Ozawa has lambasted the government's suggestion that it will use its House of Representatives supermajority to override Upper House rejection of an anti-terror law. Earlier in the day, Defense Minister Komura said that …

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Mr. Abe’s half-baked scheme

As expected, Mr. Abe went to Indian Parliament on Wednesday and called for "a 'broader Asia' partnership of democracies that would include India, the United States and Australia but leave out the region's superpower, China." (Reuters)At an earlier point in my intellectual development, I might have praised Japan's pushing for an organization of Asian democracies, …

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The emerging contours of post-7/29 politics

I am back from the lunchtime session with Professor Curtis, who gave a thorough and pessimistic account of the era in Japanese politics coming into being.I do not think it inappropriate to speak of a new era in Japanese politics; Professor Curtis is certainly convinced that Sunday's catastrophic electoral defeat for the LDP marks the …

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Democracy is the issue

The DPJ appears to be advancing on all fronts, pushing hard even in "conservative kingdoms" like Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu, the surprisingly competitive election in Kagoshima being the subject of an article in today's Yomiuri (surprise! not online).If the campaign continues this way until Sunday, even my worst-case scenario prediction will likely miss high.Not surprisingly, …

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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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What kind of debate does Yomiuri want exactly?

The Yomiuri has published its editorial on the official start of the Upper House election campaign, and, as has been its ken for much of the past nine months, it argues on the need for a debate on the nation's strategy in the face of new challenges.Sounds good, right?Except Yomiuri's idea of good governance in …

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The official campaign begins

Today is kôji, the day when candidates officially register with the Central Election Management Commission and prefectural commissions. It also means that campaigning can officially begin — candidates can actually ask voters for their voters.Yomiuri reports that the total number of registered candidates is 376 377, 121 of whom are incumbents.Feel free to post your …

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