“The Erosion of Representational Ties and the Rise of Authoritarianism in Japan” by Chris G. Pope
January 13 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am JST
Author: Chris G. Pope (Kyoto Women’s University)
Abstract: This article examines the changing boundaries of governance in Japan to explain the rise of authoritarianism under former prime minister, Abe Shinzō. The article analyses this dynamic by exploring the substantive changes in the representational ties between the governors and the governed. The approach is based on and utilizes depoliticization, an analytical tool in political research used to identify the changing structures and practices of governance in liberal democracies. In doing so, the article argues that the changing boundaries of governance that took place in Japan before Abe’s return to office in 2012 presented the Abe government with an opportunity to centralize power to the prime minister’s office at the expense of the formal political executive and the bureaucracy. Additionally, by weakening the representational ties between the governors and the public, the Abe government were able to protect themselves from numerous scandals, controversy, and political ineffectiveness, and ensure the continuance of the Liberal Democratic Party’s political dominance.