Japan And The 1955 System

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Japanese Citizens and the 1955 System The 1955 system would greatly change the direction of Japanese economics and politics for the next 30-40 years. Heavily influenced by Prime Minister Yoshida, the 1955 system fused the conservative coalition behind the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which signifies a domestic political structure characterized by an internally competitive but hegemonic conservative establishment. Other core elements of the 1955 system also included close security and economic ties to the U.S., a strong role for the national bureaucracy, a pro-business and anti-labor bias to economic policy, protection of the home market from foreign competition, low levels of social welfare spending and a host of related components. During this period, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) owned a majority in the diet for just about every single year, while the Japanese Socialists were restricted to only 1/3rd of the seats in parliament (Section, 4/1/08). High economic growth and governmental dominance by a single conservative political party marked the period. “The LDP’s characteristics policies were set: namely, anti-communism at home and abroad with an emphasis on economic growth. It worked closely with big business and the bureaucracy, drawing many of its leaders from these groups, while it attracted voters mainly among rural inhabitants, small businesspeople and middle-class white-collar workers” (Tipton, 2008, p. 173). Even though the fall of the 1955 system occurred because of economic failures, corrupt politicians and scandals, the system did bring a lot of good for the Japanese people. In this paper, I argue that most Japanese citizens did pretty well under the 1955 system, primarily due to the economic growth, the rise of the middle class during this period, as well as the right to host the 1964 Summer Olympics. One of the biggest changes that the
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