out under the LDP-Komei coalition government. Komei, a party in opposition during the long period of conservative dominance, has many reasons to seek empowerment of local governments, considering its priority to solicit support at the local level. What seems truly ironic is that the Japanese socialists eventually acceded to power and somehow affected the course of decentralization, only to lose their support base. According to the mechanism of decentralization, the parties in opposition advocated decentralization in an attempt to present themselves as the voice of the governed, enhance the power of people, and increase democratic checks and controls over the central government. However, the Japanese socialists joined the coalition government after badly losing the 1993 general election. Prior to the election, the socialists held more than 100 seats in the House of Representatives. They became a minor party with fewer than 20 seats by the next general election in 1996, which was the first held under the current electoral system of single-member constituencies and proportional representation. The dismantling process of the Japanese socialists is vividly analyzed by Mori Hiroki (Nihon Shakaito no ¯ kenkyu [Bokutakusha, 2001]), although Nakano's book pays no attention to ¯ his work. In spite
The Journal of Japanese Studies – Society for Japanese Studies
Published: Jul 14, 2012
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