Neoconservative Political Reform under the Leadership of the Prime Ministers Office

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Lee, Jukyung

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Institute for Japanese Studies, Seoul National University
Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.4 No.1, pp. 1-36
political reformAbe cabinetLiberal Democratic Partyconservative political shiftpartisan realignmentpolitical process
This study analyzes the mechanism of the conservative political shift in the Abe Shinzō administration, focusing on the interaction between the Liberal Democratic Partys (LDP) coping strategies and a series of political reforms that have led the structural changes in the Japanese political process. The paper examines the input and output structure of political reforms presented by Abe and the LDP at the three levels of government, party, and social constituency. First, the conservative shift emerged from the input process of political reforms. Since the 1990s, amid a series of political reforms that has taken place under anti-clientelism, the rivalry between the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the LDP led policy competition. In the end, a comprehensive social reform of the LDP emerged as a compelling alternative to construct a new Japanese system. The conservative shift has deepened through the output process of the political reforms. Under the political reform that promoted the unification of the ruling party and the government, meetings of the Council of Policy Advisers became a routine practice. In addition, the special offices under the president of the party increased their influence, and the governance of the ruling party using policy specialists (zoku giin) and preliminary review system was established. Overall, there has been a simplification in policy decision process and acceleration of policy implementation regarding the reforms for the conservative political shift. On the other hand, this unity and improvement of policy momentum enhanced the governments performance for Abe and the LDP. This led the LDP to rise as a dominant political party again. Furthermore, the movement of the conservative shift in the Abe era has been further strengthened by linking with the partisan realignment that combines the traditional conservatives and the neoconservatives.
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Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원)Institute for Japanese Studies(일본연구소)Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies (SJJS)Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies vol.4 no.1(2018)
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