The Japanese party system changed from the previous one-party dominance with the reform of the electoral system in the House of Representatives in 1994. After the political realignment, the LDP/Komeito and the DPJ constituted the two-party system in 2003. However, in 2012, the DPJ split while remaining the ruling party, and after the return of the LDP to power, non-LDP parties split off, creating a system that overlaps with the one-party dominance system of the past.
This paper examines the hypothesis that the competition among parties within the system itself may lead to the vulnerability of the system, because explanations of the change of the Japanese party system that focuses on voter-level changes and electoral reforms do not capture the changes that have occurred since 2012.
The electoral politics in the Netherlands is characterized by the large number of parties which hold seats in the national parliament. After the general elections in the Netherlands in 2017, as many as thirteen parties gained seats in the Second Chamber. The extremely proportional representation makes it possible for even a small party to enter the parliament. In this article, the historical background of the adoption of this unique system of proportional representation in 1917 and its impact on the subsequent elections are explored. It is pointed out that under the current rule of proportional representation the changing political landscape in the 21st century, such as the weakening of the mainstream parties and the emergence of radical populist parties, could intensify the fragmentation of the party system in the Netherlands, which might lead to political instability in the future.
This paper aims to clarify the reasons for the recent malfunction of the high electoral threshold―one of the characteristics of the Turkish electoral system, which adopts the proportional representation method. Originally, the threshold was introduced to reduce the number of political parties in the parliament and to prevent the Kurdish-minority faction from acquiring seats. The reasons pointed out in this paper refer to the strategies of Kurdish political parties and their voters, as well as the electoral alliance system introduced in the 2018 parliamentary elections. In particular, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) succeeded in expanding its support during the June 2015 parliamentary elections by adopting a new policy to defend the rights of various minorities in Turkey, not only of the Kurdish people. Moreover, the HDP showed that, by gaining more seats, the expansion of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been in power for a long time, can be limited. The introduction of the electoral alliance system and the HDP’s decision not to participate in the alliance accelerated this situation. In the 2018 parliamentary elections, a clear strategic voting, namely, the “threshold insurance for balancing,” intended to exceed the HDP threshold by restricting the power of the AKP.
What drives the current wave of democratic backsliding? Previous, mainly case-study-based research has illustrated how political polarization hinders collective actions to prevent illiberal outsiders from subverting democratic norm and institutions. However, there have been few systematic attempts to explore why people support such illiberal leaders and how political polarization erodes people’s trust in representative democracy. This study fills this gap by analyzing cross-national panel data (140 countries from 1975 to 2019) and cross-regional survey data (74 countries from 2010 to 2020). Findings of this paper demonstrate that political polarization erodes the legitimacy of elections and representative democracy by magnifying the winner-loser gap of perceived electoral integrity, by undermining people’s trust in (even substantially free and fair) elections, and by discouraging people from rejecting non-electoral measures of conflict resolution (e.g., political violence) and illiberal leaders. This paper also examines the origins of political polarization and the influence of institutions on political polarization and democratic backsliding.
This article investigates coalition bargaining process in European parliamentary democracies. The government formation process is not irrelevant with a substantial decision making for legislative parties, in which different strategies are theoretically expected on the basis of their motivations. Although a theory of coalition formations has been developed in European studies, the initial studies have paid little attention to the process. Bargaining delays might be considered as a ‘crisis’ of parliamentary democracies, but there is a variety of bargaining styles in Europe. Several empirical studies tried to explain the duration from veto controlling against bargaining uncertainty and complexity, but there are conflicting results without post-election effect. To fill the gaps, I attempt to give an explanation by using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), which aims to grasp causal complexity from a set theoretical notion. Following this approach, bargaining uncertainty and complexity can be reframed from a perspective of necessity and sufficiency, and the conditions are assessed through equifinality and multifinality. As a result, this article shows that post-election and no majority in parliament would be a conjunctural necessary condition of bargaining uncertainty, whereas partisan veto controlling against bargaining complexity could be problematized under different institutional settings, especially no presidential power and federal-bicameral structure.
Previous studies on the Japan-Russia border problem (Sakhalin problem) in the early Meiji era emphasized the influence of H. Parks’ (the British minister in Japan) recommendation to abandon Sakhalin. In contrast, this paper focuses on internal factors and traces the political process by which Kiyotaka Kuroda initiated the Sakhalin issue, and clarifies how the Meiji government successfully achieved the abandonment of Sakhalin. Appointed deputy secretary of the Sakhalin Development Commission by Toshimichi Okubo, Kuroda unified the policy of the Development Commission for Sakhalin and Hokkaido to appeasement against Russia. Further, as a result of political change in the sixth year of the Meiji era, Kuroda also wrested the initiative in Russian diplomacy from Taneomi Soejima in the central government and established an appeasement route for Russia based on prioritizing internal affairs rather than expeditions. Kuroda dispatched his subordinate, Takeaki Enomoto, to St. Petersburg as a minister and signed a treaty to exchange Sakhalin and Kuril. With this opportunity, the Kuroda faction established their influence in the Japanese government and a policy group familiar with Russia was formed within the government.
Under what conditions are residents of Japan likely to protest against the Japanese government regarding security issues? I discuss this question using data from 47 prefectures (2005-2018), focusing on the possible impacts of two factors that existing research on base politics has examined: level of U.S. military presence and its economic benefits for the residents. Additionally, I included several variables that represent the level of presence of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) in models for comparison. My results show that, on the one hand, the larger the U.S. military presence in a prefecture, the more protests are likely to occur there. On the other hand, the results do not support the hypothesis that the presence of the JSDF has a positive influence on the number of protests. Moreover, the results raise questions as to the validity of the hypothesis that the economic benefits for the residents, related to the U.S. military presence, have a negative impact on the occurrence of the type of protest. These findings indicate that the foreign military that a government decides to host to reduce the burden at the international level can ironically increase the burden on the government at the domestic level.
There are times when group pressure for conformity is at work within the EU (European Union). It is typically applied against member states that have shown a reluctance to accept the key objectives set by the EU and this pressure can sometimes lead some states to change their behavior in a more cooperative way in line with the overall objectives.
How is conformity pressure actually applied in the EU? And under what circumstances can the pressure be effective? This paper addresses these questions and seeks to enhance our understanding of pressure for conformity in the EU, utilizing various sources such as national and EU documents, press materials and the author’s interviews with those who were directly involved in EU negotiations. Drawing on theoretical insights provided by social identity approach, and through an empirical case study of the negotiation process leading to the Lisbon Treaty, this paper puts forward an argument that pressure for conformity can be effective among political leaders and officials who share a sense of “we”, namely, those who identify themselves as those who belong together to the EU.
This paper examines the fact and significance of the public observations of the Diet before and after World War II (W.W.II) from the viewpoint of disclosure and monitoring. This study has revealed the following findings. 1) Before W.W.II, the number of people who observed the Diet sessions was consistently increasing, but as TV broadcast started after W.W.II, the number was decreasing. After the 2000’s, thanks to internet broadcast and archives, people can watch the Diet sessions anytime and anywhere, which improved the availability of information. 2) The women’s suffrage movement from the 1920’s contributed to the increase in the number of women observing the sessions in the House of Peers. Although women’s ratio hovered low for a long time after W.W.II, this ratio is rising recently because of the increasing number of women reporters and public employees. 3) Furthermore, the tradition of seating arrangement and dress code at the public gallery make it difficult for the people to observe the sessions.
Therefore, the observation has the function of record and monitoring because through the observations the public has access to information about the Diet and its members necessary for the citizen’s political choice.
Previous studies on policy choices by prefectures have mostly focused on relationship between a governor and a local assembly, each elected separately. In contrast, nature of local assemblies, where multiple political groups gather to make a collective decision, has not attracted adequate attention so far. An assembly is an entity for collective decision making. The degree of segmentation within an assembly affects whether multiple political groups can agree to take a unified action, especially when the assembly and governor disagree over a specific policy.
This paper introduces an outcome of a panel data analysis on budget formation process in prefectures over 1990s. The research is based on prior researches that indicate difference of policy preferences by a governor and by an assembly often become apparent, under severe fiscal constraints, in a form of confrontation of governors who emphasize fiscal discipline vs assembly members aiming at expanding expenditures.
The analysis shows that an inverse U-shaped relationship was found between the effective number of political groups in an assembly and the amount of local government bonds issued. It suggests that the most difficult situation for the governor to achieve fiscal discipline is when the effective number of political groups is around 4.