«by Dyron Keith Dabney A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Political Science) ...»
Other scholars were much more negative than those cited above. Curtis (1999) and Seligmann (1997) thought that party-centered and issue-oriented election campaigning, will not be realized. Curtis argues that future election campaign behavior will continue to be duplications of 1996 election campaign behavior, where campaign behavior mirrored pre-reform behavior. They emphasized the legacy of Japan’s electoral history, particularly with respect to the robustness of electoral behavior. For example, Curtis sees the PR component of the electoral system undercutting the impact of SMD by favoring multiple parties and thus overly narrow issue platforms that would not offer voters a clear cut choice. Because multiple parties will not be able to adequately present different issue platforms, candidates will not be motivated to adopt a policy-centered 38 His study, however, does not clearly and conclusively distinguish between incumbents and challengers who adopted these new patterns of behavior.
society, issue campaigns based on well-developed policy platforms will gain only limited support from candidates. Furthermore, Curtis equally sees kouenkai undermining partycentered campaigning since it has become an organizational staple of election campaigns and Japanese political life. More broadly, issue campaigns based on well-developed policy platforms will not develop unless and until real issue cleavages emerge to polarize Japanese society.
Some critics even pointed to electoral reforms in other countries to make the case that institutional manipulation has its limits in structuring voter behavior, party behavior and candidate campaign behavior (Sakamoto, 1999 and Huang; 1996). Italy and New Zealand, like Japan, overhauled their election systems in the early 1990s to correct weaknesses endemic in the PR and pure majoritarian election systems. Like Japan, the immediate effects of reform on campaign behavior, among other things, were less than satisfactory. Italy, for example, adopted a similar mixed election system in April 1993 to address some of the political inefficiencies and corruption produced by the plethora of small parties that emerged from a proportional representation system (both the process and the results in Italy resembled Japan).39 The main goals were to simplify the party system by minimizing the number of minor parties and cutting down on political pork.
However, Italy’s first election under the new election system in March 1994 fell short of reformists’ expectations, in that there were as many parties in both chambers as before.
The continued presence of parties actively governing meant that corrupt political and campaign practices common before reform were still the most expedient route to power 39 Italy switched from a wholly proportional representation system to a combination of single-member district and PR system. Three-fourths of the seats in the two-chamber parliament are filled by plurality voting in single member districts and one-fourth by proportional representation.
were no better. Once described as a “perfect example of a Westminster-style majoritarian government: (Lijphart, 1984), New Zealand rejected the Single Member Plurality election system for a more proportional mixed-member system in 1993 (its first election under the mixed system took place in October 1996). Unlike Italy, the New Zealand’s first-pastthe-post SMD election system limited the presence of minority party interests.
Additionally, its election system manufactured accountability issues through one-party dominant government—ironically not unlike Japan’s experience with the LDP (Karp and Bowler, 2001).
Broadly speaking, the pessimists who believed that reform efforts would not have much effect fell into two groups. One group emphasized institutional factors, such as the impact of combining SMD and PR in a hybrid, or mixed system (Reed, 2001). For example, SMDs streamline the number of candidates and political parties and advances campaigns run on well-articulated party platforms instead of social networks, but PR negates that. One factor overlooked by reformers according to Curtis (1999) was that the decline in party identifying voters will encourage candidates to continue to promote themselves over the party in which they hold membership (which calls into question the utility of party membership as an electoral resource for candidates). Others took a cultural approach, for example examining the differences of socio-psychological patterns of behavior among Japanese voters in urban and rural districts to argue the limits of election system tinkering (Otake, 1998). Otake, for instance, argues that since issues matter less with rural voters than personal relationships, the incentive for candidates to
those themes in the final chapter of this dissertation.
Institutional and cultural forces of change aside, one common denominator among all of the literature emerging from electoral reform is that campaign behavior in Japan has been less predictable than in the past. The consensus among reform pessimists, however, was that candidates simply would not immediately engage in a wholesale behavioral shift prescribed by reform. We posit a number of hypotheses drawn from the literature
presented here and the case studies in the forthcoming chapters:
1. The Type A strategy is the product of values and norms among voters, which are rooted in Japanese social and cultural patterns.
2. The Type A strategy is the product of candidates’ expectations, based on their own experiences or what they are taught about what works to win election campaigns.
3. A Type A strategy prevails because an effective Type B strategy is precluded by tight election laws and regulations.
4. The Type A strategy is the product of the multimember electoral district system.
These hypotheses will be revisited and sufficiently addressed in our concluding chapter.
This chapter is a case study narrative of one politician’s campaign behavior under both the old MMD election system and the new SMD and PR election system; two systems used to elect members to the Lower House, the more powerful legislative chamber of Japan’s national Diet. The politician selected for this case study is Matsuzawa Shigefumi, and the focal point of the case study is the electoral assessments and strategic actions by Matsuzawa to get elected to the Lower House for the first time in the 1993 then to return to the Lower House in 1996 and 2000. 40 The beginning of this chapter is attentive to Matsuzawa’s academic training and local legislative experience;
important precursors to his Lower House victories, as well as his residential history and perceptions of Kanagawa prefecture.
Matsuzawa Shigefumi is a native son of Kawasaki city and life-long resident of Kanagawa prefecture. His residential tenure was logistically and strategically invaluable to the launching of his political career, particularly with respect to his educational choices of nearby Keio University (KU) in 1977 and Matsushita Institute of Government and Management (MIGM) in 1982. KU remains one of Japan’s oldest and respected private 40 The 2000 Lower House election was the last general election Matsuzawa contested. In April 2003 he was elected as the governor of Kanagawa prefecture. He continues to serve as the Governor of Kanagawa prefecture today.
graduate academy fashioned to nurture progressive leadership in government and politics in Japan.42 Admission to these two elite academies allowed Matsuzawa to remain close to the politics of Kanagawa prefecture, particularly the local and national election districts of which his hometown, Asao ward was included. This mix of traditional, conventional (i.e., KU) and modern, unconventional (i.e., MIGM) educational experiences elevated his credentials for a political career, and corresponded to the traditional-modern dimensions of his campaign strategy.
Matsuzawa was not a political wonk when he entered MIGM, however, he possessed the political ambition suited for the academy’s program and equally supported the academy’s mission: to exact and inspire greater political transparency in Japanese politics and accountability among its leaders.43 Since strategic and tactical planning and campaign management were universally undertaken by MIGM student-fellows aspiring to legislative careers, Matsuzawa was prepared to run for office. In fact, his preparation for the prefectural assembly began in earnest well over a year before the prefectural assembly election date.
Contributing to Matsuzawa’s political readiness in 1987 was the electioneering proficiency he amassed while volunteering on several local election campaigns in his 41 Nearly half of all members of Japan’s national Diet (approximately 45 percent in the Lower House) were Keio University, Waseda University and Tokyo University graduates, and sixty percent of the applicants admitted to MIGM were drawn from these same elite universities.
42 MIGM, in operation for just two years when Matsuzawa entered in 1982, was still a budding, unconventional and unproven gateway to a career in politics. Employment as a staff member to a politician, a political party, or an organization recognized for its influence in the political arena were still the most traditionally recognized routes to public office, and reliable start to a legislative career in Japan.
Another path to politics that was appreciably easier was by political inheritance. Second- and thirdgeneration politicians “inherited” their legislative seats from family members who retired or passed away.
43 Today thirty-two percent of the 213 graduates (as of April 2005) of MIGM hold office at the local to national-level. Currently 94 graduates are engaged in political careers. Sixty-five are public, elected representatives at the local, prefectural and national levels, and half of all MIGM graduates are engaged in professions related to politics.
election campaign in 1984. The crux of his campaign strategy in 1987 rested on drawing from his training to convince voters that he was suitable to serve as a prefectural representative. Well groomed for political leadership by means of MIGM’s curriculum of lectures, internships and field studies on politics, economics and society, as well as its instruction in public speaking and debating, Matsuzawa wasted little time operationalizing his plan for a public service career. Within a month of completing his training at MIGM in March 1987(April 3) he officially announced his candidacy for the Kanagawa prefectural assembly election schedule for April 12.44 As a long-established resident of Asao ward, Matsuzawa chose to vie for one of the two seats apportioned to Asao ward of Kanagawa prefecture’s 107-member assembly.
His life-long residency in the Kanagawa prefecture bolstered his standing as a “native son” among voters in his first election campaign.
1987 and 1991 Prefectural Elections At 29 years of age, Matsuzawa was one of the youngest candidates to compete in Kanagawa prefecture’s electoral history. As a young political challenger, Matsuzawa presented himself to voters as the candidate who could energetically pursue Asao ward constituents’ political interests. What’s more, he presented himself as the next generation of progressive prefectural leaders. His campaign behavior for the 1987 prefectural assembly election centered on the experiences he amassed at MIGM. The campaign 44 The Kanagawa prefectural assembly is composed on eleven cities (four of these cities have ward subdivisions) and five counties. Candidates compete in 47 districts based on a plurality election system.
One to four seats are apportioned to these wards, cities and counties.
generate public interest with his candidacy.
The campaign strategy Matsuzawa assembled for an Asao ward seat followed the conventional tried and true campaign strategies of a first-time challenger. That is, his campaign strategy was predominately an energetic strategy defined by a positive, attractive personal image that accentuated his young age, educational pedigree and a native son’s acquaintance with the policy issues important to Asao ward constituents. As a personal image-driven election campaign (he held no political party affiliation), Matsuzawa deployed the Type B strategy, composed prominently of informal and formal public greetings and speeches, rallies, assemblies (gaitou enzetsu, enzetsukai and shuukai), and sound truck canvassing (gaisensha no yuusei). The substance of this presentation of political know-how was a progressive conservative issue platform that addressed local-level policy concerns related to health care, education, taxation and population growth in the ward.
Matsuzawa was already intimately familiar with these issues as an Asao ward native, but he far more critically examined these issues during his training at MIGM;
policy field studies throughout Japan and abroad were essential features of the training at MIGM. His campaign slogan, kensei ni takkuru, (lit. Tackling Prefectural Politics), implied the necessity to confront and address prefectural policy matters neglected by the assembly members. The slogan, inspired by his recreational participation in rugby in college, was a clever way to infuse his personality and athleticism (i.e., physical energy)
of many discussions with him, “requiring physical and mental agility and courage to tackle difficult issues.” The decision to use the slogan was equally a clever way to direct voters to rethink youth as a political asset rather than a liability, as well as to attract young voters.
Partisan ties were common among many of Matsuzawa’s contemporaries in the prefectural assembly, but Matsuzawa’s first prefectural election campaign was absent of political party support. Among the four candidates—two challengers and two incumbents—competing for the two available Asao ward seats Matsuzawa was the only candidate not backed by a political party. The two incumbents seeking re-election were endorsed by the Japanese Socialist Party (JSP) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).