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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #247: September 11, 2006

Japanese Journal of Political Science

Journal Name: Japanese Journal of Political Science:
August 2006, Vol. 7, No. 2

ISSN: 1468-1099


Explaining the Sources of de facto Federalism in Reform China: Intergovernmental Decentralization, Globalization, and Central–Local Relations (pp101-126)
YONGNIAN ZHENG (China Policy Institute, University of Nottingham, China House, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD.)

China does not have a federalist system of government. Nevertheless, with deepening reform and openness, China's political system in terms of central–local relations is functioning more and more like federalism. Federalism as a functioning system in China has been understudied. This paper defines the political system existing in China as de facto federalism, and attempts to explore the sources and dynamics of this de facto federalism. China's de facto federalism was mainly driven by two related factors, i.e. decentralization and globalization. This paper argues that while economic decentralization in the 1980s led to the formation of de facto federalism, globalization since the 1990s has accelerated this process and generated increasingly high pressure on the Chinese leadership to institutionalize existing de facto federalism.

The Non-Linear Process of Institutional Change: The Bank of Japan Reform and Its Aftermath (pp127-152)
ARVID J. LUKAUSKAS (School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University) and YUMIKO SHIMABUKURO (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

In 1997, the Japanese Diet revised the Bank of Japan law thereby granting the central bank greater independence in monetary policy making. The revision was an attempt by Japan's political class to weaken the authority of the powerful Ministry of Finance over the central bank and augment its own influence. The Bank of Japan, however, gained more autonomy than politicians ever intended, leading to frequent confrontations between the government and the central bank over monetary policy. This paper explores the new strategic relationship that emerged between the Bank of Japan and government and the nature of monetary policy implemented in the post-reform period. We demonstrate that several factors contributed to the Bank's unexpected ability to enhance its independence: the astute leadership of the first post-reform governor Hayami Masaru; the Bank's ability to turn politicization of monetary policy to its advantage; and its pursuit of a 'power through knowledge' strategy achieved by augmenting its own research capacity. On a theoretical level, our findings show that the passage of a new legal framework only marks the completion of one stage of institutional change and the start of the next; post-enactment politics have as much importance as pre-enactment politics in shaping outcomes. In the post-enactment phase, various factors, including the state of the economy and informal institutions or processes, matter greatly and may shift the direction of institutional change away from the intended path.

Appraising Democratic Consolidation in Thailand under Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Government (pp153-174)
N. GANESAN (Hiroshima Peace Institute, JAPAN)

This article identifies how democracy and transparency in Thailand have been subverted since 2001. Specifically, it appraises the sentiments and trends that have been in place since 1993 to prevent a return to authoritarian government. Additionally, it also examines structures and policies that have thwarted democratic consolidation since 2000. The central hypothesis of the article is that there has been a structural weakening of democracy in Thailand under the Thai Rak Thai government since 2001. In other words, Thailand's democratic consolidation has been held in abeyance since the electoral victory of the Thaksin government.
This study utilizes an admixture of the institutionalist and agency approaches to make its case. There is sufficient evidence to discern since 2001 the direction and nature of state–society relations in Thailand and Thaksin has also undertaken a number of policies by way of elite strategic choices. Consequently, bringing these two approaches into strategic convergence obtains better and more comprehensive results of the state of democratic consolidation in Thailand, both from an elite as well as societal perspective for a more balanced approach. The evidence culled thus far suggests that, whereas Thaksin came to power using democratic means and in fact consolidated his democratic credentials after his second victory in 2005, domestic political and social developments reflect a weaker commitment to democratic ideals and its structural and cultural consolidation.

Thailand's Missed Opportunity for Democratic Consolidation (pp175-193)
AMY FREEDMAN (Department of Government, Franklin and Marshall College, PO Box 3003, Lancaster, PA 17604-3003)

The year 1997 was critical for Thailand. A severe economic crisis hit in July calling into question years of economic growth and increasing prosperity. A few months later Thailand adopted a new Constitution that aimed at reforming the political system, and at making corruption and vote buying less prevalent. While this article shows that the economic turmoil was a prime catalyst for political change, it was not as simple as saying that public outcry over the economic crisis forced conservative parliamentarians into voting to accept the proposed constitution. While public outcry did matter, what is vitally important is that elite political leaders, the heads of the major parties, ministers, and generals, were renegotiating their alliances and ties both with one another, and with various groups in society that were pushing for change. Elite resignation to political pressure and policy shifts among the top leaders is what ultimately allows for the passage of the constitution and for Prime Minister Chavalit's departure. This article takes a closer look at Thai politics and tries to answer the following questions: Did the economic crisis lead to (meaningful) political reform and why or why not? Since the codification of the 1997 constitution has Thai politics become more democratic? It is my analysis that the consolidation of democracy was in reach in 1997 but today has slipped further from Thai citizens' grasp. The explanations, or the independent variables for both the successful reforms of the political system in 1997 and the backsliding away from democratization, are largely the same. When both internal and external pressures prod democracy along, reforms take place. When pressures are pushing in different directions democratic reforms become threatened. Internal pressures include the military, civil society, and the behavior and power of political and economic elites; and external ones are the IMF, national security concerns, and globalization in general. When conditions or variables change, and when elite priorities or preferences shift, as this article will show, we can see the results in Thai politics.

Quantifying Social Capital in Central and South Asia: Are There Democratic, Developmental, and Regionalizing Potentials? (pp195-220)

This paper aims to apply the methodology used in Inoguchi's former paper (2004c) and build on to the findings concerning social capital in Asia. The previous paper used ten Asian countries from the AsiaBarometer 2003 survey; this time we are using the 14 Central and South Asian countries – Kazakhstan, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan, Mongolia, Nepal, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan – from the AsiaBarometer 2005 survey.

Japanese Journal of Political Science (2006), Cambridge University Press
Copyright ©2006 Cambridge University Press

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