Party system fragmentation, demographic change, and the representation of social inequalities in Japan, 1953-2017
À propos de l'événement
This study exploits political attitudes surveys conducted between 1953 and 2017 to document long-run changes in the structure of political cleavages in Japan. I analyze the transformation of Japan’s one-party dominant system from the hegemony of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to the disintegration of conservative forces into multiple splinter parties and the rise of a new centrist coalition. Throughout Japan’s contemporary history, persisting divides based upon foreign policy and remilitarization have remained a key axis of democratic conflicts. These divides have coincided with lower-educated voters showing greater support for the LDP and other conservative parties, which have generally advocated expansion of military spending and overseas interventions. The strength of the LDP in postwar decades also relied on a unique coalition of poorer rural areas and business elites, while socialist and communist parties relied on urban unionized wage earners. Urbanization, declining rural-urban income gaps, the expansion of education, and the subsequent fragmentation of the party system have put an end to these coalitions and have been associated with the depolarization of Japan’s political space. I also analyze the long-run transformation of generational divides in relation to changing attitudes to war memory and political parties.
This work is planned for inclusion in a forthcoming collective book co-directed by Amory Gethin, Clara Martínez-Toledano and Thomas Piketty, Political cleavages and social inequalities. A study of 50 democracies. The volume will bring together case studies and comparative chapters examining the long-run transformation of political cleavages in fifty countries from the mid-twentieth century to the present.