B19 - Democracy, Representation and Institutions: Cases in Canada and Japan
Date: Jun 14 | Time: 01:45pm to 03:15pm | Location:
Chair/Président/Présidente : Hideki Kido (Ritsumeikan University)
Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Jim Farney (Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy)
Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Hideki Kido (Ritsumeikan University)
This panel will investigate how democracy works by focusing mainly on political actors and political institutions. Which interests in the society are reflected to public policy at the government? And how? To answer these questions this panel includes three presentations which examine political actors’ behavior in the policy making process in Canada and Japan by answering the following questions. How voters select candidates? How politicians behave in the parliament? And how political and legal institutions work in the developed countries? First, Nakamura will examine how the experience of voting has changed high school students' political knowledge and awareness through surveys conducted at a high school during three national elections. The results show that the voting experience does not significantly increase political knowledge at the national level, but rather at the district level. Second, Kido will question political careerism in Canada and examine how many federal politicians are coming from the provincial and/or municipal level and how they behave in the parliament. Kido will investigate the former jobs of all parliament members in the House of Commons between 1988 to 2022, including former party affiliation and types of political careers, such as mayor, provincial legislative assembly member, etc. Third, Okada will show characteristics and commonalities of constitutional monarchy in Japan and Canada. Additionally, Okada will explore the relationship between constitutional monarchy and democracy from various perspectives. Fourth, Kato and Tokuhisa will shows that the judicial system could not resolve the complex social conflict based on process tracing, interviews, and questionnaire surveys.
What Have Students Learned from Voting? Lowering the Voting Age in Japan and the Consequences of the Voting Experience: Etsuhiro Nakamura (Aichi Gakuin University)
Abstract: In 2016, the voting age was lowered to eighteen in Japan. On a macroscopic scale, Japanese political parties still continue to pursue policies biased toward the elderly. At the individual level as well, the lowering of the voting age is said not to have brought about significant changes in the political attitudes of young people. In empirical research utilizing the framework of natural experiments, the impact of voting participation has been found to be highly limited, with almost no observable changes among voters. However, Japanese high school students do go to the polls when urged to vote, and their turnout is surprisingly high. Did they really learn nothing from the experience of voting? This study examines how the experience of voting has changed high school students' political knowledge and awareness through surveys conducted at a high school during three national elections. The results show that the voting experience does not significantly increase political knowledge at the national level, but rather at the district level. Moreover, students themselves report an increase in their consideration of political issues, especially within their own communities, as a result of the voting experience.
How Political Career Paths Matter in Policy Making? Cases of Canadian Parliament Members: Hideki Kido (Ritsumeikan University)
Abstract: This presentation will examine the political careers of parliament members in Canada. I will focus on how many politicians are moving into the federal government from the provincial and/or municipal level and how they behave in the parliament. Many studies show that parliament members in the Canadian federal government started out in professional occupations such as accounting, legal practice, and medicine before becoming politicians. This is because the federal political party is completely separated from the provincial party in Canada, and provincial and/or municipal politicians are not regarded as significant resources for the federal parliament. Even though it is often said that local autonomy is the school of democracy, Canadian local and/or provincial politics is separated from its federal politics in terms of political careers. My presentation will question this aspect of political careerism in Canada and examine how many federal politicians are coming from the provincial and/or municipal level and how they behave in the parliament. Indeed, over 25% members of the House of Commons after the 2015 election have had a previous political career at the provincial and/or municipal level. These parliament members would behave in parliament to reflect provincial/local interest in the policymaking process. To reveal this, this presentation will investigate the former jobs of all parliament members in the House of Commons between 1988 to 2022, including former party affiliation and types of political careers, such as mayor, provincial legislative assembly member, etc.
Comparative Institutional Analysis of Constitutional Monarchy in Canada and Japan: Advocate of Democracy or Detriment to Democracy?: Kentaro Okada (Aichi University)
Abstract: In the past two decades, there has been a growing trend in Canada for political analysis related to constitutional monarchy. Administrative officials, journalists, and political scientists engaged in the study of Canadian politics have been actively discussing various aspects of this system, including its historical framework, roles, and its unique positioning as a system distinct from that of the United Kingdom. At the core of these discussions lies the argument that constitutional monarchy is an essential feature of Canada's political system and a vital element for its democracy. Coincidentally, in Japan as well, over the past decade, journalists, political scientists, constitutional scholars, and historians have engaged in lively debates concerning the Japanese imperial system. These discussions, initiated by the Emperor's abdication declaration, share a common perspective with Canada. They assert that the Japanese imperial system has brought a positive influence to Japanese democracy and is indispensable for post-war democratic governance, nourishing democracy. In their view, constitutional monarchy holds significant importance for democracy, creating a shared point of discussion between Japan and Canada. This article aims to organize and examine these discussions, while also contemplating the characteristics and commonalities of constitutional monarchy in Japan and Canada. Additionally, it seeks to explore the relationship between constitutional monarchy and democracy from various perspectives.
Merits and Limits of the Judicial System as a Conflict Resolution Mechanism: The Case of the Social Conflict in Isahaya City: Masatoshi Kato (Ritsumeikan University), Kyoko Tokuhisa (Ritsumeikan University)
Abstract: This paper analyzes the merits and limits of the judicial system as a conflict resolution mechanism. The judicial system is considered to be the most reasonable and reliable mechanism of conflict resolution in modern society. There is no doubt that it works well in many cases. However, in the case of the social conflict in Isahaya City, the courts have been unable to resolve the conflict, actually aggravating the problem. The social conflict in Isahaya stemmed from the state-run Isahaya Bay reclamation project. After intense discussions, the project was initiated in 1989 and completed in 2007. However, prior to completion, some fishermen took the state to court to stop the project. According to them, the reclamation project affected their catches of fish. After a trial in the high court, the fishermen won. That is, the state was ordered to open a floodgate. Consequently, some farmers of the reclaimed land filed a counter suit to stop the gate from being opened. According to them, if the state opened the gate, farming on the reclaimed land would be damaged terribly. After a trial in the lower court, the farmers won and the state was ordered to keep the gate closed. In short, there were contradictory judicial decisions on the same project. Why was the judicial system ineffective? Based on process tracing, interviews, and questionnaire surveys, this paper shows that the judicial system could not resolve the complex social conflict. While it focused on the legal aspects of the conflict, the stakeholders asserted the social aspects, such as their own identity. Therefore, in such cases, if the judicial system issues a decision, the concerned stakeholders might not be satisfied. Finally, this study implies that we should create a new conflict resolution system in modern society, and the theories of deliberative democracy provide some insights.