Political Reform in Japan Leadership Looming Large
Political Reform in Japan argues that the quality of political leadership is the crucial determinant of whether parties in positions of dominance, like the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, pass or reject policies such as electoral system and campaign finance reforms that could harm the party's future electoral chances.
By comparing successful reform drives led by Miki Takeo, Ozawa Ichiro and Koizumi Junichiro with unsuccessful reform efforts pursued by Kaifu Toshiki, Miyazawa Kiichi and Kono Yonhei, Alisia Gaunder forces a reconsideration of the structure versus agency debate in political science, and of the conventional wisdom on Japanese politics that consensus decision-making norms and factional power balancing produce little in the way of political leadership.
1. The Puzzle of Political Reform 2. Miki Takeo: An Outsider Stands Firm Inside the LDP 3. Kaifu Toshiki: Mr. Clean Plays It Safe 4. Miyazawa Kiichi: An Anti-Reformer Caught in "Reform Fever" 5. Ozawa Ichiro: Rebel with a Cause 6. Junior Politicians: Ideas and Action without Access 7. Koizumi Junichiro: A New Kind of Leadership? 8. Conclusion: Political Leadership in Japan
"I welcome Alisa Gaunder as a new scholar in this school of thought, one who believes that political leadership mattered even before Koizumi. Gaunder presents an interesting and useful framework of analysis to evaluate leadership in political reform since the 1970s...Overall, Gaunder's study is well written and persuasive. She was fortunate to interview important political actors, including Ozawa, and her interview results effectively strengthen her argument. Gaunder's efforts to include risk taking, vision, and commitment to evaluate political leadership will be highly appreciated by scholars of leadership studies." - Tomohito Shinoda, Journal of Japanese Studies 34:2 (2008)