News

March 14, 2022

Absence of Populism in Japan Points to Lack of Political Alternatives

In an article in the March/April 2022 issue of Japan Spotlight, Research Director Sota Kato notes that while there has been little polarization of public opinion in Japan during the pandemic, compared to other industrial democracies, this does not mean that “politics is stable, and people are united.”

Strong election showings by the Liberal Democratic Party say less about the appeal of the ruling party and more about the public’s distrust of the opposition due to the failed administrations of the Democratic Party of Japan from 2009 to 2012.

A populist movement has seemingly failed to gain traction in Japan because the “bitter memory of the DPJ administration left the Japanese public with few political alternatives,” Kato writes. “Without viable alternatives, populism cannot prosper. The lack of populism might be a welcome situation for democracy, but the lack of political alternatives is not.”

“Post-Coronavirus Populism & Japanese Politics (Part 2),” Japan Spotlight
https://www.jef.or.jp/journal/pdf/242nd_Special_Article_04.pdf

Profile of Research Director Sota Kato
https://www.tkfd.or.jp/en/experts/detail.php?id=29

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