NYTimes を読んでいると日本の選挙の話題が出ていた。After Decades, Japan Prepares for Likely New Ruling Party

Ever since Japan’s emergence as a modern state more than a century ago, political parties have tended to be a sideshow to the real business of running the country, which has been left to bureaucrats. It has not helped that Japan, despite being East Asia’s oldest representative political system, never seized democracy through a popular uprising, as in neighboring South Korea.


Instead, its modern constitutions and parliamentary systems were bestowed from above, first by samurai reformers in the name of the emperor in the late 19th century, and then by American occupiers after defeat in World War II.


The result has been a politically apathetic public. Now, political analysts say the biggest significance of a Democratic Party victory would be demonstrating to Japanese voters that they can actually shape the direction of their nation.


“Just having choice will bring a huge, huge change in the political culture of Japan,” said Gerald Curtis, a professor of Japanese politics at Columbia University. “This is a country that has great potential. What it has lacked is leadership, and politicians who can paint a picture of what a bright future looks like.”


The Democrats claim they can paint just such a picture. But they face an uphill battle.


Reining in the bureaucracy means taking on an elite group of top achievers in Japan that actually writes laws and has served as a permanent government — even though it has come under fire for failing to combat the long downturn. Politicians’ past efforts to wrest control from bureaucrats have usually failed, in part because they have traditionally been looked down upon as self-interested and corrupt.



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