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Postwar Democracy
Postwar Democracy
Sherry Martin Murphy

'I feel as though all of our choices are losing ones.’ (Japanese focus group participant, Tokyo, Fall 2000)

Democracy enables citizens to participate in making the decisions that govern their lives. Elections structure competition between opposing political parties that offer voters choices between alternative visions for government and society. Elections aggregate mass preferences that are translated into political outputs by the winning party or coalition. Democratic performance, how closely elections and the policies enacted by the winners reflect voters’ preferences, hinges upon meaningful electoral choices. Choice, the ability to replace one alternative with another, is the mechanism that enables voters to control elected politicians and enforce transparency, accountability, and responsiveness. Japanese voters commonly complain, however, that national elections do not serve as a forum for competing views, the electoral choices offered are ...

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