Asian Studies Conference Japan

Saturday, June 19 - Sunday 20, 2004
Ichigaya Campus of Sophia University

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 Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181

Session 22: Room 207

Comparative Politics: Japan and Korea
Organizer: Munenori Owada, Keio University
Chair: Eunjoo Jang, Keio University

This panel compares recent political trends in Japan and Korea. Because Japan and Korea are faced with similar difficulties, such as a decline of trust of electors in politics, it is useful to consider the political situation in both countries. Our research should further our understanding of political problems and deepen democratic practices in Japan and Korea.
We argue that, although continuities exist in the policy making process, electors’ reactions and traditional political culture have changed. Firstly, we focus on the policymaking process in Japan and argue that vote share gained by successful candidates in national elections influences the subsequent distribution of grants-in-aid in Japan. Secondly, we focus on the electorate in Korea and demonstrate that issue voting was prominent in the 16th presidential election in Korea in 2002. Finally, we compare political culture in Japan and Korea from the perspective of the New Political Culture.

1) Munenori Owada, Keio University.
The Influence of National Elections on the Distribution of Grants-in-Aid in Japan

In this paper, I analyze the influence of national elections on the distribution of grants-in-aid in Japan after the reform of the electoral system of the House of Councillors in 2001. This electoral reform is the change from the listed proportional representation to the non-listed proportional representation. I demonstrate that a correlation exists between national elections and the allotment of grants from the national to local governments. That is to say, the higher a candidate’s vote share, the more subsequent grants-in-aid from the central government that candidate gets once in office. I show that the distribution of grants-in-aid for particular policies is influenced by the particular member of the Diet, rather than party membership. In this paper, I use river policy and the agricultural land policy in the 2001 and the 2002 fiscal years as case studies. In short, my findings show that the distribution of grants-in-aid by the government in Japan is related to the results of national elections.

2) Jeihee Kyung, Keio University.
Issue Voting in the 16th Presidential Election in Korea, 2002

In Korea, analysts usually consider long-term influences on voting preferences, such as regional voting, party voting, and ideological voting. Short-term factors may not strongly influence election results. However, the 16th presidential election was different from past elections, since young voters debated the candidates’ pledges over the internet. They particularly focused on the Korean government’s policies toward North Korea. Accordingly, many analysts expected issue voting to strongly influence the outcome of the election. In this paper, I verify that issue voting influenced the results of the 16th presidential election, taking into account other influences on voting behavior. For my analysis, I use the survey data obtained from 1,500 voters by the Korean Social Science Data Center (KSDC) eight days after the election

3) Ayumi Kanamoto, Keio University.
A Comparative Study of the “New Political Culture” in Japan and Korea

In this paper, I analyze the New Political Culture (NPC) theory with respect to Japan and Korea. NPC competes with past political trends and citizens in many countries often support new and seemingly unconnected candidates, instead of professional politicians, special interest groups, and traditional parties. The assertiveness of voters has grown stronger in both in Japan and Korea, so I will flesh out and compare the elements of NPC in both countries.
Today these two big nation states suffer from an unresponsive and distant centralized government that some voters consider to be incapable of attending to citizens’ needs. Local governments however, can provide much more responsive services to their constituents and give ordinary people a higher incentive to become involved in politics. In summer 2002, after the Korean local elections, I conducted a survey of local governments in Korea based on the FAUI project. The questions asked were the same as those from an earlier survey, which was carried out in Japan in 2001. Based on this data, I analyze and compare the NPC in these two countries.

Discussant: Toshimi Sasaki, Heisei International University


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