Politically Stable

Japan has had four prime ministers in my daughter’s lifetime. My daughter is not yet two.

This might not sound like a politically stable society, but have you heard about riots in Japan? Street protests? Internet campaigns to impeach the Prime Minister because he was born in Mombasa?

This is, I think, true political stability. Japan is so politically stable that the ruling party can be so weak that even a two-thirds majority in the lower house isn’t enough to keep a Prime Minister in power for a year, and even then politics essentially continues as normal. Life certainly does. And then, when the election result is a landslide that gives the opposition a two-thirds majority in the lower house, the party that has been in power for all but eleven months of the last fifty five years quietly concedes defeat and goes into opposition, and no-one even considered the possibility that things might be different.

Japan’s politics certainly has a good number of problems, but I would say the evidence of the last couple of years is that, fundamentally, it is a healthy democracy.

Posted in Japan.

2 Comments

  1. While I agree that Japanese society is very stable, often despite political turmoil, I disagree that Japan has a fundamentally healthy democracy.

    The real power struggles have been between factions of the LDP (the formerly ruling party), not between the LDP and their opposition. So voters do not really have any input into the matter other than to vote the bums out.

  2. Ah, but that’s exactly what they just did. I don’t claim that it’s always been a fundamentally healthy democracy, but I think it is at the moment.

    Thanks for the comment, by the way.

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