The Impact of Intra-Party Democracy and the Party-Membership in Japan: The Interaction Between Parties and Citizens

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: Booth 45
Oral Presentation
Ryo NAKAI , Rikkyo University, Japan
Yohei NARITA , Waseda University, Japan
Keiichi KUBO , Waseda University, Japan
In the literature of comparative politics, there is a growing interest on the causes and consequences of the intra-party democracy, such as the adoption of primaries for the leadership selection. Our paper examines the dynamics and the developments of intra-party democracy in the main political parties in Japan and its impact on citizens’ political participation and partisanship, based on the newly constructed comprehensive dataset on the party-leader selection in Japan.

Our paper consists of three main sections. The first section briefly presents the theoretical framework, including the definition of key concepts as well as the causal relations between the intra-party democracy and the party membership or public support, drawing upon the theoretical debates and empirical findings in the existing literature.

The second section demonstrates the contextual information about the Japanese party politics, including the electoral system, the party system and the party organizations, as well as the summary of the development of intra-party democracy in the main political parties in Japan.

The third section then investigates the impact of the intra-party democracy on the citizens’ participation and partisanship, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. This section examines how the change in the method of party-leader selection, such as the adoption of primaries, affected the citizens’ party support and party membership, based on the empirical data such as Japanese monthly-based opinion survey. It also presents some compelling case studies on the impact of intra-party democracy on the party support and party membership.

This paper has interesting implications on the changing nature of the party membership in Japan and will be able to contribute to the discussion on the party membership from the Asian and comparative perspective.