The role of antimilitarism in postwar Japanese political legitimacy

Fouse, David B.
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
The dissertation confronts the dominant view over the past twenty years regarding the role of economic factors in postwar Japanese democratic support. I argue that the dominant economic model of Japanese postwar democratic legitimacy relies disproportionately upon analysis of elite level political actors at the expense of a proper consideration of mass attitudes and value priorities. The central theme of the analysis is a comparison of the influence of economic factors with the impact that postwar antimilitarist values have had upon Japanese democratic system support. I set the data analysis within the backdrop of a historical narrative of the early postwar peace movement that established a broad consensus upon citizens' control over decisions related to national defense as the bedrock of legitimacy in a democratic state. The data analysis is then composed of two parts. The first part compares Japanese democratic system support with the United States, West Germany and Spain using data from the 1995-1997 World Values Survey. A second regression analysis is then carried out using data collected in a nationwide survey by the author during a period of peak economic instability early in 1999. Results of these analyses demonstrate that diffuse support for democratic values in Japan is firmly based in a postwar political culture that rejects a return to the militaristic form of government that preceded democracy. The antipathy to militarism in postwar Japan provides roots for democratic values that can aid in sustaining the political system during periods of economic and political turmoil. Thus the implications of the empirical results point toward a much more stable political system than popular economic models of Japanese postwar legitimacy would suggest.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2002.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 140-146).
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ix, 146 leaves, bound ill. 29 cm
Militarism -- Japan, Japan, Japan
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