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By Roger W. Bowen

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Japan's Dysfunctional Democracy: The Liberal Democratic get together and Structural Corruption

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Extra resources for Japan's Dysfunctional Democracy: The Liberal Democratic Party and Structural Corruption

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JAPAN'S DYSFUNCTIONAL PRIMF MINISTFR Ohira was the exception who proved the rule because the string of prime ministers who immediately followed him were all tainted by scandal. The colorless Suzuki Zenko got his start in politics during the Occupation as a member o f the socialist party but then "got smart" and attached himself to the LDP as an Ikeda-Sato follower. Suzuki served two nondescript years as prime minister, abruptly resigned in 1982, perhaps fearing disclosure of that which he ultimately revealed in Diet testimony years later (1992), namely that he had accepted illegal campaign funds, about $80,000, from a steel-frame manufacturing company called Kyowa.

He fit the bill perfectly for the party, and his popularity contributed enormously to the LDP electoral triumph in the June 2001 councillors election. I f history is a reliable guide, Koizumi w i l l be discarded by the party elders as quickly as his kindred spirits were, just as soon as possible. 4 Back to the Future In June 1993 a most extraordinary political event took place in Tokyo: the party that had governed Japan continuously since 1955, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), lost a vote of no confidence for only the second time in the postwar parliament's history.

Yoshida and his party held onto power until December 1954, or more than two years after the American Occupation ended. By all accounts, Yoshida's longevity in office was due to several reasons: During the Occupation period, he had MacArthur's support, in part because the two could communicate in English, in part because the JAPAN'S DYSFUNCTIONAL PRIMIi MINISTER 33 two men shared the tendency to rule autocratically, and also because Yoshida quite comfortably agreed with MacArthur's strict Cold War anticommunism.

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