Political Change in Japan: Electoral Behavior, Party Realignment, and the Koizumi Reforms

In the early 1990s, Japanese reformers promised a political transformation: fewer pork-barrel projects, more accountability, and greater transparency. Have these promises been realized?

In the past twenty years, Japanese politics has undergone many dramatic changes. Electoral reform altered the relationship between politicians and voters, and Japan has steadily moved toward a two-party system.

Amid these shifts, it remains unclear where Japanese politics is heading, and whether the changes we observe now will stand the test of time. Each chapter in this wide-ranging volume addresses a key political development in Japan, notably voting behavior, the relationship between politicians and bureaucrats, gender gaps in political candidacies, and clientelistic versus ideological politics. Political Change in Japan likewise includes extensive discussion of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's dramatic career. In sum, the book's contributors assess not only the direction but also the probable permanence of political change in Japan.

Intended for scholars and students who study Japan, this timely volume provides valuable reading for comparative political scientists as well. With contributions from some of the most eminent scholars working on Japan today, Political Change in Japan seeks to answer the question: Was political reform in Japan a revolution or a flash in the pan?