As women’s participation in the workforce expands, many countries seek to reform child care support by changing the gender division of labor. Japan also attempted universalistic child care support reforms, though these were not always successful. The electoral reforms of the 1990s prompted the major political parties to make universalistic reforms, and the major party leaders advocated similar ideas. Still, they failed to extend benefits to all children. Agreement on the expansion of funding was particularly challenging. By analyzing coalition formation within and among political parties, I show that the electoral reform led to stiff competition, which made it difficult for parties to agree. The change to a majoritarian electoral system not only intensified inter-party rivalry but also made it difficult to persuade intra-party groups that perceived a threat to their electoral success.
Electoral System Reform and the Politics of Policy Change: The Case of Universalistic Child Care Reforms in Japan
The author is grateful to Harukata Takenaka, Phillip Y. Lipscy, T. J. Pempel, Margarita Estevez-Abe, Yves Tiberghien, Ken Carty, and three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments, as well as to the editor of Asian Survey for his support. This research was supported by a JSPS KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B, 20H01448), as well as a Suntory Foundation Grant for Collaborative Research in Humanities and Social Sciences (FY 2015–2016).
Yosuke Sunahara; Electoral System Reform and the Politics of Policy Change: The Case of Universalistic Child Care Reforms in Japan. Asian Survey 1 December 2023; 63 (6): 908–933. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/as.2023.2001934
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