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Growing Democracy in JapanThe Parliamentary Cabinet System since 1868$
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Brian Woodall

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813145013

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813145013.001.0001

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Confederate Cabinets and the Demise of the “1955 System,” 1972–1993

Confederate Cabinets and the Demise of the “1955 System,” 1972–1993

(p.143) 4 Confederate Cabinets and the Demise of the “1955 System,” 1972–1993
Growing Democracy in Japan

Brian Woodall

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter traces the evolution of the cabinet system through the “Nixon shocks” and “oil shocks” to the final days of the “1955 system.” In this era of “confederate cabinets,” an already blurry distinction between ruling party and cabinet became even blurrier, and a succession of corruption scandals intensified demands for political reform. Measures were taken to enhance the powers of the prime minister and cabinet, and yet these efforts failed to institutionalize top-down executive leadership. Influential lawmakers in policy tribes assumed a leading role in the fief-like policy sub-governments that characterized a fragmented policymaking environment. This state of affairs exacerbated the difficulties faced by prime ministers and cabinets in giving tactical direction to government policy. Meanwhile, cabinets confronted an array of challenges that included reducing government debt in a slow-growth economy and responding to popular demands to reform a structurally corrupt political order. The failure to fulfill promises of political reform brought down the curtain on nearly four decades of parliamentary dominance under the Liberal Democratic Party.

Keywords:   “1955 System”, Liberal Democratic Party, career politician, policy tribes, confederate cabinets, Nixon shocks, oil shocks, administrative reform, political reform

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