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Japanese politics and culture

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One reason suggested for the long running success of the LDP is the established Japanese koenkai, which are used in election campaigning. The Koenkai formed during the post war period and can be described as a personal support group for political candidates and those in office. They are formed by the candidates themselves and not the particular party and involve personal acquaintances of every nature and are maintained through the use of personal gestures such as cards and visits which can become expensive for the candidate. It is this expense that led to the creation of what are known as factions.

Many actually inherit their koenkai and in 2011 72% of the hereditary candidates were elected to office with the benefit of their koenkai (Neary, p72). The koenkai formation represented an innovative and unique resolution in campaign strategy rather than relying on local politicians and community leaders. Politicians formed the koenkai in response to an inability of aforementioned politicians and leaders to gather enough votes to allow them to win the election. Local politicians are usually made officers of a candidates koenkai, local assemblymen serve as chapter presidents and these koenkai can easily include thousands of members with an example being Nakasone, whose koenkai numbers 50,000 (Curtis, p130).

Local politicians give the koenkai a feel of democracy in a mass membership organization and when given titles such as federation chief it becomes more difficult for them to switch their loyalty to another candidate. Their primary function is no longer to gather votes but to add prestige to the koenkai. These koenkai will consist of many groups, including women and youth and other special interest populations.

The idea is maintained that it is the will of the people who allow the official to become elected and helps to ensure equal distribution of wealth and income which Japan has become known for. Japan adopted a new electoral system in 1994, relying less upon factions. Factions are actual large organizations formed around a candidate and under the adopted electoral system they have become weaker and no longer necessary for a candidate to be elected. The LDP was not exactly a single organization but a conglomeration of numerous factions and faction leaders were usually previous LDP politicians, many who had served as prime ministers.

Faction members provided financial assistance during expensive campaigns and introduced followers to

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preview essay on Japanese politics and culture
  • Pages: 8 (2000 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Sociology
  • Level: Masters
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