In the past twenty years, Japan has undergone dramatic changes. Electoral reform has altered the relationship between politicians and voters, and Japan is increasingly a two-party system. The popularity of former prime minister Koizumi Junichiro highlighted the salience of telegenic party leaders. Amid so many shifts, it remains unclear whether such changes will stand the test of time and where Japanese politics is heading. However, it is not too early to assess the permanence and the direction of political change in Japan. Each chapter in this wide-ranging volume addresses a key political development in Japan -from "stealing votes" to the constraints that women candidates face. Intended for scholars and students who study Japan, this timely volume also provides valuable reading for comparative political scientists. With contributions from some of the most distinguished scholars working on Japan today, Political Change in Japan seeks to answer the question: Was political reform in Japan a revolution or a flash in the pan?
Steven R. Reed is a professor of modern government at Chuo University, Tokyo. Kenneth Mori McElwain is a postdoctoral fellow at the Division of International, Comparative, and Area Studies at Stanford University, USA. Kay Shimizu is a doctoral candidate in the department of political science at Stanford University, USA.