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From dKosopedia

A proud and cultured nation which has quickly modernized and absorbed Western ideas, Japan has recovered from a devastating loss in World War II to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the United States (the main victor of the war against Japan). Slightly smaller than California, Japan has the tenth-largest population in the world and the second-largest national GDP (about $4.5 trillion).

Under the Tokugawa Shogunate from 1603 to 1858 Japan was among the most isolated countries on the planet. Within a generation of the modernizing Meiji Restoration, it was a world power.


Government Overview

Japan has a parliamentary and unitary political system similar to the United Kingdom. The Japanese national legislature is the Diet (Kokkai in Japanese) and is divided into two chambers, the dominant House of Representatives and the subirdinate House of Councillors. Members of both chambers are elected in a mixed member electoral system from both single-seat electoral constituenceis and multi-seat proportional representation constituencies. The Diet elects a Prime Minister, who appoints a cabinet. Unlike Britain, Japan has written constitution and a Supreme Court independent of the national legislature, which controls several tiers of lower courts. Law is based on the civil law of Germany.

Japan is subdivided into 47 prefectures, which are further subdivided into city, town and village municipalities. There is no unincorprated territory in Japan. Both prefectures and municiplaiites exercise local government functions as directed by the national government in which they are dependent for most of their revenues. As a unitary political system Japan does not have a federal system like that in the United States.

Interestingly, Japan's many small island territories in the western pacific are part of the prefecture of Tokyo. This example suggests a possible solution to the problem in the United States of providing representation in the U.S. Congress for the residents of the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin islands, which might be combined as an effective state for the purposes of national legislative representation.

Political Overview

One of the salient facts about Japanese politics is that the government has been dominated by a single party, the center-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), (Jimminto in Japanese) since the organization of the party in 1955. Until 1993, the LDP was strong enough to rule on its own: after a year of opposition rule, it has continued to lead the government in coalition with other parties. Explanations for its dominance include the following:

The LDP currently controls the government in coalition with the New Komeito (or new Clean Government Party), which is affiliated with the Buddhist Soka Gakkai denomination. In contrast to the two major political parties in the United States, the LDP is highly factionalized, and much political action depends on the opinions of key faction leaders. Some of these include ex-PM Ryutaro Hashimoto, ex-PM Yoshiro Mori, Shizuka Kamei, and Taku Yamasaki.

The current president of the LDP and prime minister of Japan is Junichiro Koizumi, a "reformist" from Kanagawa Prefecture (around the cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki). He is a member of Mori's faction and was chosen to succeed Mori following a string of gaffes in 2000.

The largest opposition party is the Democratic Party of Japan, led by Katsuya Okada. Other parties include the Social Democratic Party and Japan Communist Party.

Key Issues


Japanese ODA

Either Japan and the United States have typically been the world's largest annual contributors of Official Development Assistance (ODA) or foreign aid. Of the total $561 billion given to African countries betwen 1994 and 2003, Japan contributed $111 billion (20%), the United States contributed $101 billion (18%), France and Germany each contributed $62 billion (11%).

Major Domestic Policy Issues

The Lost Decades Myth


Is know to have people die from Karōshi[1], or overwork.

cnn on Karoshi



Further Reading

Retrieved from "http://localhost../../../j/a/p/Japan.html"

This page was last modified 23:57, 2 December 2013 by dKosopedia user PatriotismOverProfits. Based on work by Richard Rabinowitz, roger and david jobson and dKosopedia user(s) BartFraden, Allamakee Democrat, Sekicho and AlexT. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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