Japan: does democracy work in Asia? Part 1 of 6

January 19, 2016

The partnership between capitalism and alleged multi-party democracies in Asia is an ironic joy to behold.

After spending hours researching Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, India and Taiwan, I understand why the West and America, in particular, keeps pressuring mainland China to allow democracy to flourish.

The best way to discover what happens to China if it were to become a multi-party democracy is to look at the Asian democracies surrounding it.

Let’s start with Japan.

In 2009, the Guardian said of Japan, “After more than 50 years of almost uninterrupted power, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been buried in a general election. Once before, in 1993, change came when a coalition of opposition parties briefly took power, but the LDP still held on to a majority in the Diet’s powerful lower house. This time … the center-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took more than 300 of 480 seats in the lower house.”

Then in the 2012 election, the LDP took back the majority of seats Japan’s National Diet. The National Diet is Japan’s bicameral legislature. It is composed of a lower house called the House of Representatives, and an upper house, called the House of Councillors.

After the 2012 election, the LDP held 294 seats in the 480 seat House of Representatives and in 2013 took 115 of the 242 seats in the House of Councillors.

The Guardian reported that the DPJ, which ended the five-decade rule of the LDP from 2009 – 2012, was “funded to some degree by the U.S., (and) was put in place to marginalize all left-wing opposition. This involved some strong-arm tactics, especially against the unions …”

Japan has a long trail of corruption.

Werner Pacha’s study of Corruption in Japan from an Economist’s Perspective says, “Corruption can quite simply be understood as the use of public office for private gains.”

Then Pacha reveals a series of scandals starting with the 1954 Shipbuilding Scandal, which contributed to the collapse of the Yoshida cabinet sending one person to prison of the 71 arrested.

Next was the Lockheed Scandal of 1976, resulting in the arrest of Prime Minister Tanaka for having received payments from Lockheed (an American defense contractor) of about 500 million Yen.

In 1988-89, there was the Recruit Scandal, which concluded with the resignation of Prime Minister Takeshita on April 1989.

In 1991, the Kyôwa Affair, another scandal, included former Prime Minister Suzuki and Kyôwa, a steel-girder construction firm.

Briefly, there followed the Sagawa Kyûbin Scandal of 1991-1993, the Tax Evasion Scandal of 1993,  the Genecon Corruption Scandal of 1993, the Sôkaiya Scandals of 1997, and the 1996 – 1998 Scandals within the Elite Bureaucracy.

The CIA (in 2007) reported that 15.7 percent of the people in Japan lived below the poverty line. In comparison, according to the CIA, only 2.8 percent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) live below the poverty line.

Continued with South Korea on January 20, 2016 in Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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