In 1991, Japan's bubble economy burst and the country was stuck in a quagmire for at least two decades. Domestically, Japan also suffered from political doldrums. Regionally, Japan was superseded by China. This book examines the attempts by political leaders and parties to address these problems but to little avail.
In 1991, Japan's 'bubble' economy burst and the country was stuck in a quagmire for at least two decades. Domestically, Japan also suffered from political doldrums. Regionally, Japan was superseded by China. This book examines the attempts by political leaders and parties to address these problems but to little avail.This book argues that, with the exception of Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro, Japan was bedeviled by a chronically weak political leadership and unstable party system which made it difficult for fundamental problems to be resolved. Japan also has an ambivalent relationship with China, the one country whose burgeoning economy can lift the Japanese economy from its stagnation. Notwithstanding the 'second lost decade', there were interesting efforts by different leaders and parties to offer a way out for a Japan in distress. This book also examines the approaches they tried, and why they often failed. Japan also struggled to come to terms with a China which overtook it as the second largest economy in the world. Despite this fundamental restructuring of international relations in East Asia, Japan's international relations also had interesting development - the enhancement of its 'soft' power, its consolidation of peace in regions suffering from civil wars, and leadership in climate change policy. Simply put, despite two 'lost decades', there were also innovations in domestic politics and regional affairs.The 'second lost decade' ended in the year of devastating calamities of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout (March 2011), Japan's worst crises since the end of World War II. Conceivably, after the darkest hour is the dawn. Historically, Japan has always rebounded after a grave national crisis or catastrophe. The triple calamities might well be the catalyst to galvanize the political, economic and intellectual elites to seek a national consensus to transcend this considerable challenge and end the 'second lost decade'.
Table of contents:
Introduction: Stagnation, Crises, Innovations and Impediments to Change; Political Impasse & Change: Ruling Liberal Democratic Party: Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro's Structural Reforms ; The 2003 Manifesto Election; The 2004 Upper House Election; Koizumi: Remaking the ruling Liberal Democratic Party through Postal Reforms; Nurturing Good Political Leaders for Japan: Matsushita Seikei Juku (The School for Politics and Management); Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's Agenda: A More Assertive and Nationalistic Japan; Japan's 2007 Upper House Election: Towards a Political Gridlock?; The Fukuda Administration: Coping with Japan's Political Gridlock; The End of LDP's One-Party Dominance in Japan?; Political Impasse & Change: Ruling Democratic Party of Japan: Japan's 2009 Electoral Tsunami and Regime Shift ; Prime Minister Kan Naoto's Rocky Road; Japan's July 2010 Upper House Election: Political Gridlock Ahead; Japan in 2010: Foreign Policy Setbacks Impacting on Domestic Politics; Japan's Triple Disasters in March 2011 and the Kan Administration; Japan in 2011: A Most Horrible Year; Social and Business Challenges: Declining Fertility Rates in Japan: An Ageing Crisis Ahead; Internationalization and Immigration: Coping with the Ageing Population Problem; Toyota's Crisis: Japan's Decline?; Foreign Policy Challenges & Innovations: China, Asia & The World: China Rising: The Demise of Japan-led Flying Geese Developmental Model?; Sino-Japanese Relations 30 Years After: Conflict and Cooperation; The Apology Issue: Japan's Differing Approaches towards China and South Korea; The Yasukuni Shrine Issue; The China Threat Theory in Japan; Japan's Deteriorating Ties with China: The Koizumi Factor; The Fukuda Administration: Mending Fences with China; Has Hu Jintao's Visit Really Boosted a Future-Oriented Sino-Japanese Relationship?; Japan's Special Relationship with Taiwan; Japan too going after Soft Power ; Japan's Peace-building in Aceh; Japan's Peace-building in Sri Lanka; The Hatoyama Administration and Japan's Climate Change Initiatives.