In Growing Democracy in Japan, Brian Woodall compares the Japanese cabinet system to its counterparts in other capitalist parliamentary democracies, particularly in Great Britain. Woodall demonstrates how the nation's long history of dominant bureaucracies has led to weakness at the top levels of government, while mid-level officials exercise much greater power than in the British system. The post1947 cabinet system, begun under the Allied occupation, was fashioned from imposed and indigenous institutions which coexisted uneasily. Woodall explains how an activist economic bureaucracy, self-governing "policy tribes" (zoku) composed of members of parliament, and the uncertainties of coalition governments have prevented the cabinet from assuming its prescribed role as primary executive body.
Woodall's meticulous examination of the Japanese case offers lessons for reformers as well as for those working to establish democratic institutions in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, China, and the new regimes born during the Arab Spring. At the very least, he argues, Japan's struggles with this fundamental component of parliamentary governance should serve as a cautionary tale for those who believe that growing democracy is easy.
About the Author
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations and Japanese Terms ix
Note on Conventions xi
1 The Anti-Westminsterian Roots of Japans Parliamentary Cabinet System, 1868-1946 31
2 Comprador Cabinets and Democracy by the Sword, 1946-1955 83
3 Corporatist Cabinets and the Emergence of the "1955 System," 1955-1972 115
4 Confederate Cabinets and the Demise of the "1955 System," 1972-1993 143
5 Disjoined Cabinets-Act I: Coalition Governments and the Lost Decades, 1993-2006 167
6 Disjoined Cabinets-Act II: Twisted Diets and Lost Leadership Opportunity, 2006-2013 189
Appendix A Japanese Cabinets and Cabinet Ministers Database 225
Appendix B Ministers' Parliamentary and Social Attributes 227
Appendix C Ministerial Hierarchy 231
Selected References 245