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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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Disjoined Cabinets—Act II

Disjoined Cabinets—Act II

Twisted Diets and Lost Leadership Opportunity, 2006–2013

(p.189) 6 Disjoined Cabinets—Act II
Growing Democracy in Japan

Brian Woodall

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter focuses on the cabinets that occupied Japan’s executive helm from September 2006 through late 2013. During this period, the difficulties of dealing with “Twisted Diets” – in which the ruling coalition did not control an upper house majority – posed problems for prime ministers and their cabinets. Once depicted as the Diet’s functionless “appendix,” hostile upper houses delayed the appointment of prime ministers and passage of the national budget, while obstructing governments’ attempts to provide tactical direction to policy and producing rapid turnover in prime ministers and cabinets. The three LDP-led governments that held forth following Prime Minister Koizumi’s resignation attempted to restore features of the ancien regime, while the three DPJ-led governments that governed after the August 2009 lower house elections put forward reform agendas. Yet despite alternation in ruling party and promises to reform the executive branch, cabinet government did not materialize. The LDP’s triumph in the December 2012 lower house elections returned Abe Shinzō to the premiership and led to a rollback of DPJ-imposed changes. The chapter concludes with an examination of the controversy surrounding the proposed relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma.

Keywords:   “Twisted Diet”, coalition government, House of Councillors, Liberal Democratic Party, Democratic Party of Japan, Futenma Air Station controversy, Abe Shinzō

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