Political reform in Japan : leadership looming large


Political reform in Japan : leadership looming large

Alisa Gaunder

(RoutledgeCurzon contemporary Japan series, 12)

Routledge, 2007

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Includes bibliographical references (p. [159]-168) and index



Political Reform in Japan argues that the quality of political leadership is the crucial determinant of whether parties in positions of dominance, like the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, pass or reject policies such as electoral system and campaign finance reforms that could harm the party's future electoral chances. By comparing successful reform drives led by Miki Takeo, Ozawa Ichiro and Koizumi Junichiro with unsuccessful reform efforts pursued by Kaifu Toshiki, Miyazawa Kiichi and Kono Yonhei, Alisia Gaunder forces a reconsideration of the structure versus agency debate in political science, and of the conventional wisdom on Japanese politics that consensus decision-making norms and factional power balancing produce little in the way of political leadership.


1. The Puzzle of Political Reform 2. Miki Takeo: An Outsider Stands Firm Inside the LDP 3. Kaifu Toshiki: Mr. Clean Plays It Safe 4. Miyazawa Kiichi: An Anti-Reformer Caught in "Reform Fever" 5. Ozawa Ichiro: Rebel with a Cause 6. Junior Politicians: Ideas and Action without Access 7. Koizumi Junichiro: A New Kind of Leadership? 8. Conclusion: Political Leadership in Japan

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