Japan’s political dynasties fail the porky test

Shinzo Abe is the son of Shintaro Abe, a former leading member of the long-ruling LDP. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Yasushi Asako, Waseda University; Takeshi Iida, Doshisha University; Tetsuya Matsubayashi, Osaka University; and Michiko Ueda, Syracuse University

Political positions are no longer hereditary in modern democracies, but political dynasties nevertheless exist around the globe and dominate political office in East Asia and Japan in particular. But research shows that dynastic politicians in Japan can be socially inefficient and lead to less optimal and inefficient outcomes for their electorates. Read more…

Scandal threatens Abe and Japan’s political stability

Newly appointed Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi attends a budget committee session of the House of Representatives at Parliament in Tokyo on 25 February 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Brad Glosserman, Pacific Forum CSIS

The greatest threat to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ambitious agenda is political instability in Tokyo. The spectre of such instability is re-emerging after a remarkable period of quiet as cabinet ministers in Abe’s government are being tarred with political funding scandals. Read more…

What will Abe deliver now?

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows after being re-elected, as lawmakers applaud in the Lower House of the Parliament in Tokyo, Japan, 24 December 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

After a decisive election victory on 14 December, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would seem to be in an extremely sweet spot to deliver on both his main domestic and international policy agendas. Read more…

What now for Abe third time round

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at a New Year party of business group Japan Association of New Economy, 22 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nobumasa Akiyama, Hitotsubashi University

Shinzo Abe’s second term as prime minister of Japan, unlike his first, was a modest success through till 2014. But he will have to bring real and tangible outcomes for Japan and the Japanese economy if it is to succeed the third time round. Read more…

Is it back to the future for Japanese politics?

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows to the applause of lawmakers in the Lower House of the Japanese Diet after being re-elected, 24 December 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Gerald L. Curtis, Columbia University

Prime Minister Abe’s decision to call a snap election paid off big time for him and for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The LDP and its coalition partner the Komeito emerged from the election with its two-thirds majority in the lower house intact. Read more…

Abe takes his electoral ‘chance’

A man walks past posters of Japanese prime minister and ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader Shinzo Abe displayed at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo on 4 December 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

As the official election campaign rolled out last week, the media are still trying to get a handle on what the upcoming Japanese election is all about. This is ‘the election Japan didn’t need to have’ or the election ‘that’s not about anything in particular’, except securing Prime Minister Abe’s and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) survival in the longer term. Read more…

Snap election belies Japan’s weak politics

Japan's Prime Minister and ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader Shinzo Abe greets supporters after his election campaign speech for the 14 December lower house election. Abe's ruling party is on course for a landslide win in the upcoming general election, opinion polls showed. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ben Ascione, ANU

The incumbent Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) seems to be cruising towards a victory in the snap election to be held on 14 December. But beware of interpreting this as a ringing endorsement of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Instead, the likely result shows just how weak Japanese politics has become. Read more…