Factional Politics: How Dominant Parties Implode or Stabilize

5 February 2013

6:00 – 7:30pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:00pm

13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle, London, NW1 4QP

Margaret Thatcher was thrown out of office in 1990 but the British Conservatives still won a fourth term in office in 1992. Academics claimed that the British political system was ‘turning Japanese’. Within a year, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was voted out for the first time in 38 years just as Italy’s Christian Democratic Party (DC) was imploding after four decades of hegemony. The Conservatives’ aura as the natural party of government was shattered in 1997 by Tony Blair’s New Labour but it took another 12 years for Japanese voters to vote out the LDP. Meanwhile, Canada’s Liberal Party had been in charge for some 80 years but came third in a 2011 election. Particular circumstances differed in each country but internal dissent and disorder were common. Particular circumstances differed in each country but internal dissent and disorder were common. In her book, Françoise Boucek explains how this factionalism precipitates the downfall of many political leaders but can also prolong office by containing conflict and hanging onto dissidents. In a survey of the British Conservative Party, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Christian Democratic Party of Italy and the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Dr Boucek explores this paradox and the potential dangers of factional politics for dominant political parties.

Dr Françoise Boucek

Dr Françoise Boucek is Teaching Fellow in European politics and policy in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London, Visiting Professor at the University of Witten Herdecke (Germany) and Research Associate of the London School of Economics’ (LSE) Public Policy Group. She grew up in France, graduated in business administration (1973) and moved to London and then Canada where she worked as a research analyst for an investment bank. She gained her BA (1988) in political science from the University of Toronto and gained her MSc (1991) and PhD (2002) from the LSE. She was Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Modern History at London Metropolitan University (1991-93) and LSE (1994-97 and 2001-03). She has written widely about political parties, representative democracy and one-party dominance including in Japan and is co-editor of Dominant Political Parties and Democracy: Concepts, Measures, Cases and Comparisons (London: Routledge, 2010).

Professor Kensuke Takayasu

Professer Kensuke Takayasu (discussant) is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Seikei University in Tokyo. He received his BA (1994) and MA (1996) both in political science from Waseda University. He read his doctorate at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), gaining his PhD from the University of London in 2003. He became a research fellow at Hokkaido University in 2004, before joining Seikei University as associate professor in 2006. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Department of Government, LSE. Professor Takayasu has written widely on both British and Japanese politics, and has published a book in 2009 titled The Power of Prime Ministers in Japan and Britain – Dynamics of their Relationships with the Governing Party (Tokyo: Sobunsha). His articles appear regularly in Sekai. In 2011, his paper ‘New Conventions Required: Ideas to Re-invigorate Japanese Party Politics’ was published in Asia-Pacific Review (Vol.18 Issue 2), while the website Japan Echo Web (No.7 August-September) carried his article ‘In Need of New Rules of the Game.’


Leadership and Corporate Life

12 July 2012

6:00 – 7:45pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:45pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

With the global economy in the doldrums, companies everywhere face difficult challenges. Japanese corporate leaders have two decades of experience with a sluggish economy, and may be able to offer lessons for their UK counterparts about how to respond to the current difficult environment. British companies are being urged by the government to export more, particularly to the Far East, echoing Japan’s experience, that exports have indeed been a relative bright spot in recent years. But the Japanese corporate sector isn’t in great shape either. Iconic exporters like Sony are struggling to compete with Asian and American rivals, while the Olympus scandal has reminded us that Japan still has deep-rooted governance and audit problems.

So what should corporate leaders in both countries have uppermost in their minds? Our two speakers are well-placed to comment. As well as being former Chairman of Airbus Japan, Glen Fukushima is well-known as a commentator on a wide range of issues relevant to the Japanese corporate sector – from trade policy to the educational system. Stuart Lyons, meanwhile, has broad experience of the UK corporate sector. He was formerly CEO of Royal Doulton (for whom Japan is an important market), and is currently Chairman of furniture manufacturer Airsprung Furniture group. This is the fifth seminar in our 2012 series Leadership: People and Power in the UK and Japan.


Glen S. Fukushima

Glen S. Fukushima was President and CEO (2005 – 2010) and Chairman and Director (2010 – 2012) of Airbus Japan. He has worked in Japan since 1990 as a senior executive in four US multinationals and served as Vice President and President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. He has served on numerous Japanese, American, and European corporate boards and advisory councils and is a Trustee of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives). From 1985 to 1990, he worked in Washington DC as Director for Japanese Affairs and as Deputy Assistant USTR for Japan and China at the Office of the United States Trade Representative. His book The Politics of US-Japan Trade Conflict (in Japanese) was awarded the Masayoshi Ohira Prize in 1993. He was educated at Stanford (BA), Harvard (MA, JD), Keio (Stanford-Keio Exchange Scholar), and Tokyo (Fulbright and Japan Foundation Fellow).

Stuart Lyons

Stuart Lyons is Chairman of Airsprung Group PLC, the furniture and mattress manufacturer. After graduating in Classics from King’s College, Cambridge, he joined the retail and clothing group United Drapery Stores, where he rose to be managing director. Following a takeover, he became chief executive of Royal Doulton, where he led both the business itself and the industry confederation, receiving a CBE for services to the china industry. He has been a member of the Ordnance Survey Review Committee, the Monopolies & Mergers Commission, and the Council of Keele University, a governor of Staffordshire University and Chairman of the West Midlands Development Agency. More recently, he assisted the Conservative opposition as a chief policy advisor and authored three influential publications for the Centre for Policy Studies, Can Consignia Deliver?, A Department for Business and Harnessing our Genius.

Dr Simon Learmount (Chair)

Dr Simon Learmount is University Lecturer in Corporate Governance at the University of Cambridge. He has recently been awarded the University’s Pilkington Prize, which recognises excellence in teaching. Prior to joining the University of Cambridge, Dr Learmount was founder and Managing Director of Saxoncourt Ltd, Director of Sales and Marketing at International Packaging Ltd and Shimomura Fellow at the Development Bank of Japan. His main teaching and research interests lie in the areas of international corporate governance reform and management practice; currently he is particularly interested in the training and development of senior executives and company directors. He has consulted to a number of organisations around the world, including the Tokyo Stock Exchange, BT, Rolls Royce, Coca Cola, BP, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China and Roche. He has lived and worked in Japan, the US, France and Spain.

Can the Democratic Party finally raise Japan’s consumption tax?

Lecture details:

8 March 2012

6:00 – 7:00pm, followed by a drinks reception to 7:45pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

Japan has one of the highest levels of government borrowing in the world. Many commentators agree that an increase in the Consumption Tax rate (currently 5%) is inevitable sooner or later. But such an increase would disproportionately hit the poor, so it is highly contentious.

This lecture discusses the politics of raising the Consumption Tax, and in particular the reasons why the discussion has moved forward during the time that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has been in power.

A number of institutional changes resulted from political reforms enacted in the 1990s. These reforms, including changes to the electoral system to introduce single-seat constituencies, resulted in a weakening of habatsu(factions) and zoku-giin (political tribes) within the political parties. At the same time, the reforms strengthened the authority of party executives in the policy-making process. Professor Kamikubo will argue that these institutional changes have given additional momentum to the push to increase the consumption tax increase, and that significant progress has been made under the current DPJ regime.

But it remains unclear whether the Noda government can push through tax increases and improve Japan’s budget position, because of strong opposition in the nejire-kokkai (“twisted Diet”). This lecture will assess the Noda government’s chances of success in reforming the tax system.

Dr Masato Kamikubo

Dr Masato Kamikubo is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University, and has a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick. His research interests are contemporary Japanese politics, public administration, and international political economy. Kamikubo was a former Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Rikkyo University and the School of International Liberal Studies (SILS), Waseda University. He was also Assistant Professor at Waseda University Global COE Program: Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration (GIARI). Kamikubo publishes various articles about Japanese politics in magazines and on-line journals, such as Chuo Koron (Central Review).


Leadership and History in the UK and Japan

24 January 2012

6:00 – 7:45pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:45pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

This first seminar in the 2012 series, Leadership: People and Power in the UK and Japan, will draw on examples from history to set the scene for a year-long discussion of leadership issues in both countries. While lack of leadership is a recurring theme in analyses of Japanese politics, the sharing of power in Britain’s coalition government is giving rise to different concerns. The speakers will contextualise such contemporary debates by reflecting on past crises and successes of leadership and the importance of leadership as a force for change. Subsequent seminars will consider the roles that may be played by individuals and organisations in political, corporate and other spheres in influencing the future direction of society.