Conference on Democracy and Japanese Politics

1st Annual Conference on Democracy and Japanese Politics
School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University

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School of Political Science andEconomics, Waseda University, is hosting a conference for broadly defined "junior scholars" – graduate students, postdocs, etc. – on May 21, 2015 at Waseda University.  Presenters will receive intensive mentoring critiques on dissertation prospectuses and research projects from prominent faculty members, including:

Junior scholars conducting research related to the conference themes of "democracy and Japanese politics" are invited to submit proposals.  A proposal reflecting the current stage of a doctoral dissertation (a prospectus or a précis) is welcome.  A proposal may also focus on specific aspects on or related findings about an ongoing research project.  Possible topics include:
  • Parties and party systems
  • Electoral systems and legislative organization
  • Voting behavior and political psychology
  • Political trust and social capital
  • Economic and industrial policy
  • Political economy of East Asian regional integration
  • US-Japan security relationship and territorial conflicts in Asia-Pacific
  • Democratization and authoritarian institutions

The conference is an excellent venue to receive critiques on your research from experienced mentors in the field.  It is also a great opportunity to network with junior scholars from other universities who share similar research interests.  Therefore non-presenters will be very much welcomed to attend the workshop and panels and join open discussions.  Please refer to the application / registration procedure below.


Conference structure

The program combines panels and a workshop.  As soon as our committee selects successful applicants, panels will be organized according to presentation themes, methods used, and countries/regions covered.

Each presenter will have 15 minutes to present his or her research project.  Each presentation will have its own mentor giving critical feedback on its theory, methodology, and empirical analysis, and be followed by an open discussion afterwards.

Additionally, the conference will feature a workshop where mentors will discuss how to get published in an English journal, how to finish a dissertation, and how to give an effective presentation in an international conference.

The conference sessions will be chaired by prominent faculty members specializing in democracy and Japanese politics.  They are:

Ellis Krauss is a Professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California San Diego.  He received his Ph.D from Stanford University (1973).  An expert on postwar Japanese politics and on U.S.-Japan relations, he has recently published a coauthored book with Robert Pekkanen (U. of Washington) about the development of Japan’s long-time ruling party, The Rise and Fall of Japan’s LDP: Political Party Organizations as Institutions (Cornell University Press 2010).  He and Pekkanen also now have begun a book project on political leadership in postwar Japan.  He has published numerous articles in professional political science and Asian studies journals, including American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Japanese Studies, Journal of East Asian Studies, Comparative Political Studies, and British Journal of Political Science.  With Robert Pekkanen and Matthew Shugart, he is co-Principal Investigator of an ongoing National Science Foundation grant about the impact of electoral reform on party nomination and appointment practices in eight countries.

Steven R. Reed is professor of modern government at Chuo University in Japan, where all of his classes are taught in Japanese.  His major areas of research are parties, elections, electoral systems, and Japanese politics.  He recently co-edited Japan Decides: The Japanese General Election of 2012 with Robert Pekkanen and Ethan Scheiner.  He has published in British Journal of Political Science, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Japanese Studies, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Party Politics, Electoral Studies and several Japanese journals.  His current research interests include religion and politics and political corruption.


Gregory W. Noble is a professor of politics and public administration in the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo, where his research focuses on comparative political economy in East Asia.  After receiving his Ph.D from Harvard University’s Department of Government, he taught at the University of California and the Australian National University before moving to Tokyo.  Among his publications are Collective Action in East Asia: How Ruling Parties Shape Industrial Policy; The Asian Financial Crisis and the Structure of Global Finance (co-edited with John Ravenhill); “Fiscal crisis and party strategies”; “The decline of particularism in Japanese politics”; “Japanese and American perspectives on regionalism in East Asia”; “What can Taiwan (and the U.S.) Expect from Japan”; “The Chinese Auto Industry as Challenge, Opportunity and Partner”; “Executioner or Disciplinarian: WTO Accession and the Chinese Auto Industry” (with Richard F. Doner and John Ravenhill]; “Power Politics: Elections and Electricity Regulation in Taiwan,” (with Stephan Haggard).
  • Professor John Campbell (University of Michigan / University of Tokyo)
John Creighton Campbell is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Michigan and is currently a faculty member at the Institute of Gerontology, Tokyo University.  He is the author of Contemporary Japanese Budget Politics (UC Press, 1979) and How Policies Change: The Japanese Government and the Aging Society (Princeton, 1992).  He specializes in Japanese politics, public policy and decision making, and social policy; recently has been studying Japan’s Long-Term Care Insurance system.

  •  Professor Aiji Tanaka (Waseda University; Principal Organizer)
Aiji Tanaka is a professor of political science at Waseda University.  He is also the President of International Political Science Association.  His major research interests cover voting behavior, public opinion, and Japanese politics.  His articles have appeared in Journal of Conflict Resolution, Political Behavior, Journal of East Asian Studies, International Political Science Review, and other journals.  He also published numerous books in Japanese, including Seiji Katei Ron [Political Process] (Yuhikaku, 2000), Seijigaku [Political Science] (Yuhikaku, 2003), Nenkin Kaikaku no Seiji Keizaigaku [Political Economy of Pension Reform] (Toyo Keizai Shinposha, 2005).  He obtained his Ph.D in political science at Ohio State University in 1985.


Application process

To be considered, each prospective participant should submit a proposal and an academic CV to Kuniaki Nemoto at by April 27, 2015.  A proposal should be up to 2 pages (double-spaced).  A CV should contain an applicant's academic affiliation, current status in academic program, and email address.

We will notify acceptance and distribute the program by May 1, 2015.  Successful applicants will be expected to email their presentation précis (up to 5 pages, including tables/figures, double-spaced) or presentation slides by May 18, 2015.

Non-presenters will be also very much welcomed to attend the workshop and panels and join open discussions.  Please RSVP to Kuniaki Nemoto at by May 15, 2015.

If you have any questions about the application process and the conference in general, please contact Kuniaki Nemoto at


Building 26, Room #302.  For access to the Waseda campus, please consult the Maps & Directions website


12:00pm-12:45pm: Lunch

12:45pm-1:30pm:  Post-lunch Workshop

Mentors discuss how to get published in academic journals, how to finish dissertation, and how to give effective presentations in professional conferences.

1:30pm-3:15pm: First Panel

1:30-2:05pm: Cader (University of Tokyo)

"Protest Theming as Agenda Setting in Dictatorship and Democracy: from Above and Below."

2:05-2:40pm: Plsek (University of California, Berkeley)

"Japan and Germany after 1945: Parties, Politicians, and Legacies of World War II."

2:40-3:15pm: Takesue (University of Tokyo)

"Message without Content Can Enhance Coordination."

* Each has 15min presentation, 10min critiquing, 10min open discussion.

3:15pm-3:30pm: Coffee Break


3:30-5:15pm: Second Panel

3:30-4:05pm: Kubo (Rice University)

"Intraparty Bargaining and Ministerial Selection Under Mixed-Member Systems in Japan."

4:05-4:40pm: Park (University of Tokyo)

"Maintaining the Governing Party: Pre-legislative Policy Coordination between Government and Governing Parties in Japan and Korea."

4:40-5:15pm: Toyofuku (University of Tokyo)

"Voters, Parties, and Tax Increase: Japan’s Tax Policy in Change."

* Each has 15min presentation, 10min critiquing, 10min open discussion.


5:15-5:30pm: Wrapping up, Concluding Remarks