Reshaping of Japanese Politics and the Question of Democracy
Japan's need for economic and political reform has been recognized but the means to achieve this has not. In this article, J.A.A. Stockwin, professor of Modern Japanese Studies at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford, considers this question by examining the meaning of democracy then applying the theory to the specific case of Japan. He explains that although not identical to a democracy in a Western sense, Japan's system of government is genuinely democratic. Stockwin argues that Japan is now at a crossroads in her history, but before pressing for reform an understanding of the complexity of the Japanese system is necessary. He concludes that a radical restructuring of Japan's political party system towards a bipolar set of party arrangements is necessary but questions whether Prime Minister Junichirô Koizumi is up to the task.