Conceptions of Democracy: An Analysis of Japan's Capacity for Reform.

TitleConceptions of Democracy: An Analysis of Japan's Capacity for Reform.
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsThomas, Lani
Academic DepartmentPolitical Science
Thesis AdvisorLi, Hua-yu
DegreeBachelor of Arts in International Studies in Political
Number of Pages31
Date Published9/2004
UniversityOregon State Unversity
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
KeywordsCorruption, government, Japan, party influence, polical party

The goal of my essay is to show how the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan's multifaceted influence on government has diluted democracy and possibilities for its own reform. By arguing the pervasiveness of the party and its effects, I will show that Japan's democracy is inextricably linked to the LDP despite party reform efforts and despite redefining democracy as a comparison tool.
The LDP has a long history of conservative dominance that is well documented not only for its ability to stay in power, but also for its political immorality, By explaining how the party's influence and networking has stunted conceptions of democracy (based off of their Constitution), I show that it has a direct result on the possibilities and trust in the reform process. This section is based on the research of other noted scholars who have also tried to explain the anomaly that is Japan.
I have then used Japan's reform track record from books and news reports and projections of its future reform agenda to gauge Japan's likelihood of separating the LDP's corruption from a government that is basically the LDP. This analysis incorporates The horizontal-model thesis of Bradley Richardson, who gives the most persuasive argument for Japan's complex but working government, and a classic argument for not comparing Japan's democracy to the United States but also not making Japan's situation unique. In my observations, the complex mix the LDP has made of the government challenges conceptions of both the "bad" political machine, and a "good" democratic government, even though neither of them are perfect. The end result is a capacity for reform based on an understanding of the interdependence of the party and government as Japanese democracy.