A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 1/6

September 27, 2011

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

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

The best way to discover what would happen to China if it were to become a parliamentary multi-party democracy is to look at the Asian democracies surrounding it, and we 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. The LDP rules no more.”

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

The trail of corruption in Japan is long.

Werner Pacha’s study of Corruption in Japan from an Economist’s Perspective says, “Ccorruption 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.

Then there 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, only 2.8 (in 2007) percent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) live below the poverty line.

According to a chart on page 7 of his study, Pacha reveals that the multi-party democratic Republic of (South) Korea (RoK) is worse than Japan. South Korea’s democracy snapshot will appear tomorrow.

Continued on September 28, 2011 in A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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