Fuente: SAGE journals

Populism “made in Japan”: A new species? 
First Published April 29, 2019 Research Article

Despite rapidly growing literature on populism in advanced democracies, Japan is often overlooked. However, Japan has certainly not been immune to populist phenomena. In fact, populist politics in Japan can be divided into two categories: the first was in the 2000s, when Prime Minister Koizumi implemented vast reforms, and the second has proponents among the governors and mayors of big cities, such as Yasuo Tanaka, Toru Hashimoto, and Koike Yuriko. They have principally promoted neoliberal reforms, such as market deregulation, overhauling administrative systems, and limiting trade union autonomy. The economic interventionism and political authoritarianism characterizing recent populism in the West are not found in Japan, which explains why the literature has neglected Japanese cases of populism. Focusing mainly on the second type of populism, this article argues analytically that populism in Japan must be understood as a political strategy employed by the local executives. By examining cases of populist Japanese governors and mayors, we observe that populist politics are fueled at the local level by the institutional settings and electoral systems in regional politics. Aiming to contribute to the literature on varieties of populism, the article emphasizes theoretically that institutional mechanisms tend to foster populist politicians in Japan.


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