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The ‘1955 System’ and the Era of L. D. P. Dominance, 1952–93

  • Richard Sims
Chapter

Abstract

When Japan emerged from Occupation in April 1952, the prospect of political stability seemed distant. Although the government had since 1949 been controlled by a single party, there were indications that the ruling Jiyuto (as the Minshu-Jiyuto had been renamed in 1950) would fall victim to the same tendency to splinter to which all previous Japanese political parties had been prey. Even if it held together, the odds that it would win another overall majority in the next election were not high; and the existence of a rival party, the Minshuto, which had shown itself capable of cooperating with the Socialists, suggested that there might, as before, be frequent transfers of power and that cabinets might have great difficulty in pushing legislation through the Diet. Yet from 1955 until 1993 one party would enjoy a dominance which was not only greater and more sustained than any of its predecessors had achieved, but was unmatched by almost any political party in a non-totalitarian state.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Cited by W. LaFeber, The Clash: A History of US-Japanese Relations, (New York W. W. Norton, 1997), pp. 318, 326 and 336. In the introduction to his collection of writings by E. H. Norman, Origins of the Modern Japanese State, J. Dower claims that the American government also launched an ideological campaign against the Japanese Left from the early 1950s.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    See M. Mochizuki, ‘Managing and Influencing the Japanese Legislative Process: The Role of Parties and the National Diet’, Ph. D. thesis, Harvard University, 1982, p. 246.Google Scholar
  3. 14.
    Cited by C. Johnson, ‘Tanaka Kakuei, Structural Corrupton and the Advent of Machine Politics in Japan’, Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 12, no. 1 (winter 1986), p. 18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 15.
    Cited by K. Pyle, ‘In Pursuit of a Grand Design: Nakasone Betwixt the Past and Future’, Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 13, no. 2 (summer 1987), p. 267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 19.
    See, for example, K. Kato, ‘Towards a New National Vision’, Japan Echo, vol. 24, no. 2 (June 1997), p. 28.Google Scholar

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© Richard Sims 2001

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  • Richard Sims

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