What the Osaka elections mean for national politics in Japan

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, a TV personality-turned-politician, gives a speech during a fundraising event in the city of Osaka. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Purnendra Jain, University of Adelaide

The results of the November 2015 ‘double election’ for the Osaka Prefectural governor and Osaka City mayor are in. The regional Osaka Ishin no Kai candidates won both positions with huge margins, defeating their rivals — including those supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and other national political parties.

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The rise and fall of Japan’s opposition


Author: Kevin Placek, SSRC

On 27 August, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto abruptly announced his resignation from the Japan Innovation Party (JIP). Hashimoto, who founded the party, has arguably been the single most important driving force behind the JIP’s electoral success and its emergence as the second-largest opposition party after the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Read more…

Is Japan really tilting to the right?

Demonstrators shout while holding banners reading 'No War' during a protest against reforms that would allow Japan to dispatch its Self-Defense Forces overseas, on 26 May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Stephen Robert Nagy, ICU

Japan is coming under increasing scrutiny as the 70th anniversary of World War II approaches and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moves to reform Japan’s defence policy. Recent concerns over hate speech and the right-wing nationalistic rhetoric of revisionist groups like Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), Sakura Channel, and Zaitokukai (The Association of Citizens Against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi — that is, the resident Korean population) have led commentators to conclude that Japanese people are becoming more nationalistic. But is this really the case? Read more…

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…