This project focused on the theme of “Japanese Politics in the New Era,” under the direction of Hideo Otake, professor of political science at Kyoto University and a leading scholar on Japanese politics. The project reflected an awareness of the difficult constraints that domestic politics often place on effective Japanese participation and leadership in international affairs. A group of ten young political scientists was divided into two teams, each studying the two fundamental systemic changes in Japanese politics since 1993: (1) the introduction of a new electoral system for the House of Representatives and (2) the emergence of coalition governments. Each team participated in monthly joint workshops with resource persons, including leading political figures, bureaucrats, political reporters, and senior academicians, in the course of their field studies.

The essays by the first team was published in 1998 in the volume titled How Electoral Reform Boomeranged: Continuity in Japanese Campaigning Style. The essays by the second team, which focused on analyzing the impact of coalition politics on the policymaking process, were published as Power Shuffles and Policy Processes.

This project is part of the Global ThinkNet Fellows initiative.



HIDEO OTAKE, Professor, Faculty of Law, Kyoto University


GERALD CURTIS, Professor, East Asian Institute, Columbia University

Study Group: Electoral Reforms

MASAAKI KATAOKA, Associate Professor, Keio University

ISAO NIWA, Research Assistant, Kyoto University

CHEOL HEE PARK, PhD candidate, Columbia University

SATOMI TANI, Professor, Okayama University

MASAHIRO YAMADA, Assistant Professor, Kwansei Gakuin University

Study Group: Coalition Government

MIKIKO MURASE ETO, Professor of Law, Hosei University

NAOTO NONAKA, Professor of Political Science, Gakushuin University

TOSHIMITSU SHINKAWA, Professor of Modern Political Analysis, Hokkaido University

MASAHIKO TATEBAYASHI, Assistant Professor of Law, Kansai University

IKUKO TOYONAGA, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, Kyushu University

SHUICHI WADA, Program Officer, Japan Center for International Exchange