Promoting Political Participation through Experience-based Political Education
Unformatted Document Text:
political attitudes or actions
. Cox and Campbell found a similar result regarding Japanese
their findings include four cohorts: the pre-war cohort (pre-1930s), the war/occupation cohort
(1940s-1950s), the 1960s cohort, and the Lockheed cohort (post-1970s). Japan had gone through
rapid social and political changes after World War II and people’s apathy toward politics started to
emerge around the time of Lockheed Scandal, a Japanese version of Watergate Scandal of the
Now a new cohort that has a different characteristic seems to be appearing. According to
the post-election surveys conducted by the Association for Promoting Fair Elections (Tables 1 and
2), voter turnouts continue to decline except for 2005, and especially so among those in the early
20s. The decline in party affiliation is also greater among those in the early 20s
. Comparison of
voter turnouts and party affiliation by cohort shows that there is a slight increase in both numbers as
they get older, but not much can be expected from the life-cycle effect.
We can point out certain incidents that influenced the recent pattern of Japan’s political
socialization. Lockheed Scandal, as mentioned above, caused political apathy among the youth in
the 1970s, succeeded by other corruptions including Recruit Scandal of the late 1980s.
Correspondingly, the effects of political socialization at a later stage started to wane. Then came the
blow-up of the bubble economy, higher unemployment rate among the youth, and the increase in
temporary employments at the cost of the decline in life-time employments, all of which not only
weakened their sense of affiliation to certain social groups, but even shut off their opportunities to
belong to any social groups. Added to this situation were the successive party realignments, which
fractured the stable relationship between political parties and social groups. Under these
circumstances, social groups could no longer play their traditionally important function in the
Warren E. Miller and J. Merrill Shanks, The New American Voter, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,
Karen E. Cox and John C. Campbell, “Generational Change or Periodic Fluctuation? Age and Political Attitudes
in the U.S. and Japan,” paper prepared for the 2001 Annual. Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, Cal., August 31-September 3, 2001.
Aiji Tanaka and Sherry Martin, “The New Independent Voter and the Evolving Japanese Party System,” Asian
Perspective 27-3 (2003): 21-51.
Authors: Ishibashi, Shoichiro. and Chieko, Otsuru.