When the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came to power in September 2009, Japanese citizens expected that soon a new era of the “two-party system” would be in place in the country. However, while Japan suffered seriously from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the DPJ faced a variety of difficulties arising from their controversial policies and a large number of defectors from the party after the consumption tax increase bill, and lost power after a drastic decrease of seat numbers in the 2012 Lower House election.
This project examined the DPJ administration from September 2009 to December 2012, from various perspectives such as policies, party governance, and management and legacy. Its ultimate goal is to identify the significance of the DPJ in Japan’s party politics and the reasons for its downfall, as well as to derive necessary lessons for Japan’s future party democracy.
The authors, a team of academic professionals and a lawyer, will analyze the policies and events during the time of DPJ, based on the testimonies from the interviews with the DPJ core politicians and related persons who were at or close to the center of the administration. The lessons learned under the DPJ government will be drawn for the future of Japan’s political party democracy. The output, entitled “Critical Review of the DPJ Government,” was published in Japan from Chuokoron-Shinsha, Inc. on September 25, 2013, and the English edition, “The Democratic Party of Japan in Power: Challenges and Failures,” was published from Routledge on September 8, 2016.
About the Interviews
In order to examine the true form of the DPJ Administration during its reign, we conducted thirty interviews in total; targeting those who were at the center of the administration such as Prime Ministers, Cabinet members, DPJ leaders, party lawmakers, bureaucrats and social activists. We listened to the actions of these interviewees during their time in the DPJ, as well as behind-the-scenes stories of the challenges and failures the DPJ had undergone. We had question-and-answer sessions for a wide variety of topics in each interview.
Obtaining the testimonies resulted in a successful projection of credible and explicit insights on DPJ governance in our report.
About the Surveys
Surveys were also conducted to non-interviewed members in accordance with the interviews in order to have a general idea of the DPJ members’ self-assessments on party governance. Detailed surveys were conducted with incumbent DPJ Lower House lawmakers (as of September 2013, with the exception of one individual first elected to the Lower House in December 2012).
Out of the 56 members targeted, we received answers from 45 individuals. The response rate was a staggering 80.4%.
The results of the survey reflect a self-evaluation of the DPJ lawmakers’ own experiences of running the government.
All of the responses(Japanese only)
Leading Japanese and American political scientists and economists, lawyers, and journalists took charge in specific fields of their expertise. Each chapter of the book is examined and written by each of these experts. A former director of the editorial board of a major newspaper managed editing to keep coherence of the outcome.
(Project Leader, Introduction and Chapter 6)
Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University.
Professor of Politics, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Hitotsubashi University
Attorney at Law, Partner of Nagashima Ohno and Tsunematsu
Professor of Graduate School of Governance Studies, Meiji University
Associate Professor, the Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University
Prior to joining Keio University, Dr. Jimbo was a Director of Research at the Japan Forum on International Relations Inc. (JFIR) in 2003-2004, and a Research Fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) in 1999-2003. He obtained his Ph.D from the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University in March 2005. His main research fields include Japan-US Security Relations, Japanese Foreign and Defense Policy, Multilateral Security in Asia-Pacific, and Regionalism in East Asia. He has been a member of various governmental commissions and research groups including the Globalization Working Group of the 21st Century Vision (Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, Cabinet Secretariat. His recent articles (in English) include, Ken JIMBO ed., Regional Security Architecture in the Asia-Pacific, Tokyo Foundation (2010) (in Japanese) Ajia Taiheiyo no Chiiki Anzen Hosho Ahkitekucha; Dr. Jimbo is concurrently a Senior Research Fellow at the Tokyo Foundation, and the Canon Institute for Global Studies.
Professor, Department of Economics, Shimonoseki City University
LIPSCY, Phillip Y.
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
The Thomas Rohlen Center Fellow, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
(Chapter 7 collaborator)
Part-time Lecturer, the School of Law, Meiji University
He was a member of the Editorial Board from 2006, and Director of the Editorial Board from 2010 to 2012.
FUNABASHI, Yoichi (Foreword, Conclusion and Afterword)
Chairman of the RJIF
Former Editor-in-Chief , The Asahi Shimbun
Distinguished Guest Professor, Keio University
Yoichi Funabashi is Chairman of the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation and a former Editor-in-Chief for the Asahi Shimbun. He is a contributing editor of Foreign Policy (Washington, DC).
He served as correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun in Beijing (1980-81) and Washington (1984-87), and as American General Bureau Chief (1993-97). In 1985 he received the Vaughn-Ueda Prize for his reporting on international affairs. He won the Japan Press Award, known as Japan’s “Pulitzer Prize”, in 1994 for his columns on foreign policy, and his articles in Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy won the Ishibashi Tanzan Prize in 1992.
His books in English include The Peninsula Question (Brookings Institute, 2007); Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific, ed. (USIP, 2003,); Alliance Tomorrow, ed. (Tokyo Foundation, 2001); Alliance Adrift (Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1998, winner of the Shincho Arts and Sciences Award); Asia-Pacific Fusion: Japan’s Role in APEC (Institute for International Economics, 1995, winner of the Mainichi Shimbun Asia Pacific Grand Prix Award); and Managing the Dollar: From the Plaza to the Louvre (1988 winner of the Yoshino Sakuzo Prize).
His recent articles and papers in English include: “Fukushima in review: a complex disaster, a disastrous response”(Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2012); “Lessons from Japan’s nuclear accident” (East Asia Forum, 26 March 2012); “The end of Japanese illusions”(New York Times, 11 March 2012); “My findings in Japan’s existential fallout” (Financial Times, 9 March 2012); “Challenges for Rising Asia and Japan’s Role” (Yale Global Online, September 2010); “Forget Bretton Woods II: the Role for U.S.-China-Japan Trilateralism” (Washington Quarterly, April 2009); “No One Model for Global Economy” (Yale Global Online, March 2009); “Keeping Up With Asia” (Foreign Affairs, September/October 2008); “Power of Ideas: The US is Losing its Edge” (Global Asia, Fall 2007); “Stuck on the Sidelines”, (Newsweek International, 5 March 2007); “Koizumi landslide: the China factor” (Yale Global Online, 15 September 2005); “The world should also have a vote”(International Herald Tribune, 25 March 2004); “Koizumi opens a Pandora’s box”(Financial Times, 7 January 2004); “China is preparing a ‘peaceful ascendancy’ ” (International Herald Tribune, 30 December 2003); “Learning from five years of trialogue” (China-Japan-US: Meeting New Challenges, 2002); “Northeast Asia’s strategic dilemmas” (Assessing the Threats, 2002); “Asia’s digital challenge”(Survival, Spring 2002); “Japan’s unfinished success story” (Japan Quarterly 2001); “Japan’s moment of truth” (Survival, Winter 2000-01); “International perspectives on national missile defense: Tokyo’s temperance” (The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2000); “Tokyo’s depression diplomacy” (Foreign Affairs, November / December 1998); “Thinking trilaterally” (China-Japan-US: Managing the Trilateral Relationship, 1998); and “Bridging Asia’s economics-security gap” (Survival, Winter 1996-97).
He received his B.A. from the University of Tokyo in 1968 and his Ph.D. from Keio University in 1992. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University (1975-76), a visiting Fellow at the Institute for International Economics (1987), a Donald Keene Fellow at Columbia University (2003), and a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo Public Policy Institute (2005-2006).
RJIF Chief Administrative Officer/Fellow