I Introduction Voter's turnout for the House of Representatives are recently on a downward trend. The turnout rates for the House of Councilors are lower and, as illustrated in Fig. 1, it reached as low as 44.5% in 1995. What people are non-voters? What factors make them non-voters? This essay aims at introducing current works of voter's turnout of Japanese political scientists into non-political scientists who are interested in electoral politics. II Basic Approaches to Turnout and the Contexts in which political Actors Play (1) Campaign mobilization by political parties, candidates, and interest groups Campaign mobilization in Japan takes three forms: (a) mass electoral campaign, (b) organizational mobilization, (c) personal contacts by candidates and their supporters. As (b) and (c) are empirically more important than (a), this approach is often called“political (or social) network”approach. (2) Political involvement approach Political involvement is psychological orientation to politics. The more people are involved in politics, the more likely they are to vote. Such psychological variables as political interest, political efficacy, and sense of civic duty are typical ones. Among them sense of civic duty is often found most effective. As they are usually fostered through voter's socialization process, this can be called“socialization”approach. (3) Attractive choice approach When voters find a party (candidate) distinctively more attractive than the rest of the parties (candidates), they are perhaps more likely to vote. Rational choice model of voting is a special case of this approach, in which in terms of issue positions voters can differentiate a party from the rest of parties. (4) Social and political contexts We cannot ignore the impact of contextual effects on turnout. Some contextual effects are introduced here. (i) The competitiveness of elections The competitiveness of election can raise turnout. When an election is competitive, voters pay more attention to the development of the race, and perhaps they are more likely to vote. (ii) Cost of voting “Cost of voting”can be referred on an aggregate level. Here the following three factors are examined:“double election”; the climate of poll day; institutional factors. (5) Political resources and social attributes of individual voters Voting requires the least effort among all forms of political participation. Therefore, the function of political resources is paid least attention in this essay. Individual social attributes are considered as surrogates for political and psychological factors, except for a few with their own function. Age (or political experience) is an example. As people grow older, they become familiar with political process and institutions around them. III Constructing Voter's Turnout Models The reasons why voters decide not to vote are often so diverse that a single approach or a contextual effect cannot explain them. Usually, a turnout model is constructed from most of (or all of) the factors discussed so far. (i) Even such a theory-oriented model as rational choice model of voting utilizes political involvement approach which is supposed to be far from rational choice theory. (ii) Empirically-oriented models intentionally synthesize all approaches and contextual effects into their own models. Political involvement factors are very often found the most effective of all. Two models (Kabashima's and Miyake-Nishizawa's), among many, are cited as examples. IV Some critical problems with empirical data As most studies are based on national sample surveys, their dependent variables are usually reported votes for elections. It is well-known that reported turnouts by survey data are higher than the official counts. In case aggregate data are used, independent variables are under too many restrictions.
When Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet in Philadelphia to justify and encourage the revolutionary war, it was entitled Common Sense by Benjamin Rush, a Continental Congressman who had studied medicine in Edinburgh under Willam Cullen. Since Cullen was quite familier with the literati of the Scottish Enlightenment including such pioneers of the common sense school of philosophy as Lord Kames, Thomas Reid, and Dugald Stewart, their vocabulary might have been popular among medical students. Thus it is almost certain that Rush took the words common sense from the Scottish Enlightenment to give it to Paine's pamphlet. However, by this trans-Atlantic transfer the word changed its meaning from conservative to radical. Needless to say Paine's common sense was that of the American common peope longing for independence whereas in the Scottish origin it was the common sense of those men of taste who were vehemently attacking the revolting colonies. Although it is an open question how clearly Rush was conscious of the total change of the meaning of the words, it might have been that he had at least a vague idea of the change before he met Paine. He wrote that he introduced Paine to the revolutionary cause to which he had joined earlier. He had been a regular member of Catharine Macaulay's salon in London. In any case, he later clearly denied the universal validity of common sense. He critisized Cullen's Greco-worship in medicine and even the personal worship towards Cullen himself. Thus Rush changed his attitude towards common sense twice, that is say, first as a revolutionary and secondly as an empirical scientist in medicine. He was a surgeon in the revolutionary war, and a medical practitioner and professor after the war. True he was a empirical scientist he has never doubted Christianity.
Having served 27 year on the International Court of Justice in Holland, after a nearly 30-year blank I returned home to learn to my surprise about the recent reform being conducted of the national university system in Japan. In April 2004, Japan's national universities were “incorporated.” Upon my return, I was appointed a member of the Administrative Council and chairman of the President-Selection Committee of Tohoku University, where I had held a professorial chair of international law before assuming a judgeship in the World Court. I am flatly opposed to the government's policy of incorporating the national universities, which have a proud tradition of over more than one century. The current reforms will not make the university system better, but worse. Hoping to strengthen university-industry collaboration and promote venture businesses, the government has gotten carried away in trying to reshape universities into something resembling corporations. Based on my experience with the several month of ongoing university reform, I take a critical look at the organization and operation of the“new”universities and elucidate the contradictions and shortcomings of the reform program. I point out three reasons why universities are withering under the new system. The first is that the policy has all but caused liberal arts professors, who are responsible for teaching basic education in the university-that is, the bedrock of one's philosophy-to flee the scene. This, in turn, is causing the extinction of the liberal arts college. The second is that a policy of standardization under a rubric of equalitarianism among academic disciplines is causing a loss of differentiation between them and a watering down of their unique characteristics. In these new universities, it is no longer possible to differentiate advanced research in fields I refer to as “bedrock philosophy” -such as, mathematics, physics and science or philosophy, literature and history-from specialized research in technincal and applied sciences. The third is that the current reforms relevant to legal education are essentially meaningless. Legal education should provide young people a full 3-year curriculum in law after they have received a liberal arts education. The concept of the new law schools is built upon the half-baked infrastructure that has constituted jurisprudence education. It is as superfluous as building a roof atop a roof.