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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #197: June 10, 2005

Japanese Journal of Political Science

Journal Name: Japanese Journal of Political Science:
November 2004, Vol. 5, No. 2

ISSN: 1468-1099


Partners Apart? The Foreign Policy Attitudes of the American and European Publics (pp229-258)
PIERANGELO ISERNIA (Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche, Giuridiche, Politiche e Sociali, Università di Siena, Via Mattioli, 10, I-53100 Siena, Italy) and PHILIP P. EVERTS (Department of Political Science, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands)

It is often argued today that a deep and troublesome gap across the Atlantic has been developing and that Europeans and Americans no longer share the same view of the world. On the basis of data gathered in the 2002 Transatlantic Trends Survey, held in the USA and six European countries, this article assesses whether there is indeed such a gap at the mass level. It focuses on three major dimensions of world views: (1) perceptions of threats (2) the sense of affinity with other countries in terms of allies, friends or foes, and (3) attitudes toward the use of force, both in general and in specific circumstances, more particularly the war over Iraq. It concludes that European publics in 2002 looked at the world in a way that is rather similar to that of many ordinary Americans including harbouring deep reservations about the conduct of certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy. Both publics share fundamental worldviews. On Iraq, Europeans and Americans agreed in some respects (such as the necessary role of the UN) but disagreed on other. In many respects at the mass level the differences across the Atlantic are of degree, and not fundamental. They result from disaffection with the present administration rather than with US policies in general. Moreover, the alleged European 'anti-Americanism' is a misnomer, which hides the considerable sympathies and warm feelings towards America, and the perceived common interests and values.

Redistricting in Japan: Lessons for the United States (pp259-285)
RAY CHRISTENSEN (Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University, 770 SWKT, Provo, UT 84604)

Japan is regularly criticized for the malapportionment of its election districts. In contrast, the United States has problems with gerrymandered election districts, even though district boundaries are crafted with meticulous attention paid to population equality among its districts. Japanese redistricting practices prevent gerrymandering of district boundaries, but at a cost of tolerating higher levels of malapportionment than would be allowed in the United States. I analyze the effects of Japan's redistricting rules and find that they have effectively prevented any malapportionment or gerrymandering that benefits a specific political party. I also show that in terms of actual votes cast, the Japanese system produces greater equality between districts than the results obtained in the United States, suggesting that US redistricting practices could be improved by modeling them after the Japanese example.

The Sinking of the Ehime Maru: The Interaction of Culture, Security Interests and Domestic Politics in an Alliance Crisis (pp287-310)
CURTIS H. MARTIN (Merrimack College, North Andover, MA)

The loss of life that resulted from the sinking of the fisheries training vessel Ehime Maru by the nuclear submarine USS Greeneville off Hawaii in February 2001 exemplifies the risks to United States–Japan alliance relations posed by US global military deployments. Following a pattern of incidents involving the US military in Japan itself, the collision violated Japanese expectations of benevolence from its stronger partner and put considerable pressure on the government to seek public apology and reassurance. This article examines the interplay of culture, national security interests and domestic politics in framing both perceptions and diplomacy during the crisis. While differences at both the cultural and security levels complicated diplomacy, asymmetry in the respective domestic political stakes, combined with overriding and largely congruent security interests, helped the United States to provide Japan with the requisite reassurance. After a decade of alliance drift, both Japan and the United States were determined to forestall defection by their alliance partner.

Political Dynamics of Regime Transformation in Japan in the 1990s (pp311-322)
CHEOL HEE PARK (Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), Seoul National University, Korea)

The 1990s is perceived in Japan as a lost decade, but it also was a decade of profound political, economic and institutional transformation. Books and articles reviewed here analyze this unprecedented change from diverse angles. Authors are in agreement that Japanese political economy has undergone major transformation in the 1990s. However, over the issue of how much and in what area those changes have occurred, authors take different standpoints. Also as to what would be the shape of future political setup, they provide us with divergent scenarios.

The Two-Party System Meets a House of Councillors Election (pp323-325)
STEVEN R. REED (Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University)

Elections to Japan's upper house, the House of Councillors, are 'secondary' elections, that is, elections that do not choose the government. Among the implications of this secondary status is that the party system is primarily determined elsewhere, by the system used in the general elections that do choose the government. From 1947 through 1993 the system used in general elections fostered a multiparty system that did not sit easily with the many single-member districts of the House of Councillors. Since 1996 general elections use a system based primarily on single-member districts, which is fostering a two-party system. As a two-party system emerges, we should expect the single-member districts of the upper house to become more and the multi-member districts to become less congruent with the party system. The 2004 House of Councillors election presented us with our first example of what two-party elections might look like in future upper house elections. The overall results do indeed indicate the advent of the two-party system with the major parties winning 96% of the seats in the district tier and 71% in the PR tier.

The Legislative Record: The Japan National Diet in 2004 (pp327-330)
JUNKO HIROSE (National Diet Library, Japan)

The general election in November 2003 and the Upper House election in July 2004 indicate that the Japanese politics is going from a one party dominant toward a two major party system. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) narrowly keeps a majority in both Houses by merging the New Conservative Party and by forming a coalition with New Komeito.

Executive Turnovers September 2003–September 2004 (pp331-334)
TAKASHI INOGUCHI (University of Tokyo)

Executive turnovers during September 2003 and September 2004 were moderate, as was the case the preceding year. The reason for this is that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has made it a rule to limit change of cabinet members (Inoguchi, 2004). The Liberal Democratic Party's Presidential election took place in September 2003, giving approval to Koizumi to continue without rival candidates. Koizumi reshuffled his cabinet on September 22, with key cabinet ministers kept intact. They included Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, Welfare and Labor Minister Chikara Sakaguchi, Economics, Finance and Monetary Affairs Minister Heizo Takenaka. Besides a portfolio to each of the two coalition partners, Koizumi saw to it: (1) that the execution of his structural reform would be spearheaded by a non-compromising reformist academic, Takenaka; (2) that faction-based appointments be reduced to a minimum by appointing those who are not tainted by old-fashioned factional affiliations and ties, i.e., three non-parliamentary members and four female ministers.

Opinion Polls in 2004 (pp335-337)
IKUO KABASHIMA (Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo)

When the last opinion polls were published one year ago, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was enjoying a high approval rate despite Japan's poor economic performance. The poll conducted in June 2003 showed that 48.2% of the public supported the Koizumi administration, which is an exceptionally high number in comparison with the approval rates of historical LDP prime ministers and their cabinets. Only 29.5% of those polled expressed dissatisfaction with the administration. Today, however, public support for Koizumi is on a sudden decline. Just as Koizumi's managed to sustain public support throughout 2003, his loss of support in 2004 manifests a peculiar quality; he is now losing popularity despite Japan's significant economic improvement.

Japanese Journal of Political Science (2005), Cambridge University Press
Copyright ©2005 Cambridge University Press

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