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Title: New party success and failure in Japan : the experiences of the Liberal Party, 1998-2003
Author: Christensen, Inge Engel
ISNI:       0000 0000 5189 4738
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis examines the Liberal Party, a new party founded in 1998 in Japan, where numerous new parties have emerged in the 1990s following the disintegration of the existing political order. New parties have played important roles in the ongoing process of political change, but have failed to challenge the dominant Liberal Democratic Party, and most have faced difficulties in consolidating their positions within the emerging party system. The Liberal Party also failed to become a permanent player, but nevertheless played an important role, serving as a catalyst for change. The thesis examines its experiences to better understand its development, role, and character. The thesis first discusses recent political developments in Japan, including an analysis of new party emergence and trends within the political realignment process. The case study of the Liberal Party discusses developments from 1998 until 2003, when the party was dissolved, and also examines three dimensions of party activity, covering 'policy', 'organization, leadership, and resources', and 'relations with the electorate'. The thesis draws on existing scholarly literature, but also employs data from party publications, interviews, observations, newspaper reports, and political finance reports. The analysis shows that the Liberal Party's attempts to influence the political structure and process were often frustrated. Although the presence of a strong leader positively impacted on the party's sustenance, it proved difficult to expand the organization and to secure sufficient resources. The Liberal Party's emphasis on policy set it apart from its contemporaries, and it succeeded in functioning as a dynamo of new ideas. It failed, however, to expand its electoral base significantly, which limited its options. The thesis also finds that although the process of realignment has pushed Japan further towards a two-party set-up, developments at the elite level have failed to generate a corresponding realignment of the highly alienated and disinterested Japanese electorate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available