With the advent of the second Abe administration, the question of `who leads' in Japan has become much easier to answer - the Prime Minister and his executive office, backed by a substantial policy support apparatus. This rise of the `prime ministerial executive' is therefore one of the most important structural changes in Japan's political system in the post-war period.
This book explains how the prime ministerial executive operates under the Abe administration and how it is contributing to Abe's unprecedented policymaking authority. It analyses how reform of central government under Prime Ministers Nakasone, Hashimoto and Koizumi has produced the necessary institutional innovations to allow the prime minister to assert a more authoritative policy leadership, turning Japan's traditional, decentralised and bottom-up politics on its head. Comparing the Westminster and presidential systems of governance and applying them to Japan's contemporary politics, the book shows that whilst elements of both can be found, neither captures the essence of the transformation involved in the rise of the prime ministerial executive.
Providing a thorough analysis of power in Japanese politics, this book will be useful to students and scholars of Japanese Politics, Comparative Politics and Asian Studies.
Aurelia George Mulgan is Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia. Her publications include Ozawa Ichiro and Japanese Politics: Old Versus New (Routledge, 2014).