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JapanThe Precarious Future$
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Anne Allison

Print publication date: 1953

Print ISBN-13: 9781479889389

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479889389.001.0001

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Possible Futures of Political Leadership: Waiting for a Transformational Prime Minister

Possible Futures of Political Leadership: Waiting for a Transformational Prime Minister

Chapter:
(p.282) Chapter Twelve Possible Futures of Political Leadership: Waiting for a Transformational Prime Minister
Source:
Japan
Author(s):

Ellis S. Krauss

Robert J. Pekkanen

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479889389.003.0013

Japan, after decades of political hyper-stability, experienced significant instability in the 1990s and 2000s Following a landslide victory for the the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2005, the LDP was routed in the very next election in 2009 by the Democratic Party of Japan—arguably the LDP’s first electoral loss in its entire history. In the following election in 2012, the LDP roared back with an overwhelming electoral victory that nearly extinguished the DPJ. Meanwhile political and governmental leadership changed as well. Under Japan’s old (SNTV) electoral system prime ministers were back-room facilitators, chosen by LDP factions, exhibited little charisma or public appeal, and exercised little power. After the electoral reform, however, Prime Minister Jun’ichiro Koizumi (2001-2006) took advantage of the political reforms to become a “transformative leader” for the first time, only to be followed by 6 failed prime ministers each in power for a year. We analyze the reason for these patterns in this article. Can a new transformative leader appear again? Current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to have exceeded even Koizumi’s influence and leadership, and we discuss the implications of this new phenomenon.

Keywords:   leadership, prime minister, political parties, governance, change, electoral system

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