Chapter 12: Japanese Public Administration at the Crossroads: Declining Trust in Government and Civil Service Reform in the Age of Fiscal Retrenchment
Akira Nakamura and Masao Kikuchi 12.1 INTRODUCTION On 30 August 2009, an election for the House of Representatives (Lower House) was held in Japan. The outcome surprised many Japan watchers. For the first time in the post-war history, the governing party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), experienced an historic defeat. The party lost more than 181 seats and captured only 119 members in the lower chamber of Japan’s national legislature. The long-standing opposition, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), expanded its share from a previous 193 to a surprising 308 seats. The result of the 2009 election completely reversed the political fortune of the governing and the opposition parties. The contest has brought an unprecedented change to the fundamental contour of the Japanese central government. It marked the beginning of the end of the long-standing LDP rule in the country. The rival DPJ replaced LDP and the new Hatoyama government commenced on 16 September 2009. Of many reasons, one of the most important to account for the demise of LDP lies in the growing consolidation of vested interests in different policy areas. The LDP had been in power more than 50 years. Over these years in government, the party had developed close rapports with specific interest groups and central agencies. One of the most notable has been farming industries. For a number of historical and cultural reasons, the rural sector of the country has been the bedrock of conservatism in Japan. A large portion of farmers have always been supportive...
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