• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Non Language Asian Studies, Political Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Simon Avenell
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course is available for in-person and remote (online) learning. Remote (online) and in-person students participate together in the same class.

This course provides an introduction to contemporary Japanese politics. It looks closely at the relationship between institutions (electoral systems, regulatory frameworks, administrative systems) and political actors such as politicians, political parties, bureaucracies and bureaucrats, business and civic groups, and citizens.  The course will introduce students to some of the most important debates and issues in Japanese politics such as the emergence and evolution of conservative rule, the role of industrial policy in economic development, the relationship between bureaucrats and politicians, the legal system and politics, security policy and foreign relations, civil society and civic engagement, and state-interest group dynamics. Through focused case studies in lectures and seminars, the course will also address critical issues in contemporary Japanese politics such as demographic change, energy policy, the environment, natural disaster, constitutional revision, territorial and historical disputes in East Asia, women’s participation, and initiatives for economic revitalization.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand and analyse key processes, transformations, and themes in contemporary Japanese politics.
  2. Analyse and evaluate key scholarly debates on Japanese politics.
  3. Apply analytical reading skills through careful reading of relevant literature in the field of Japanese politics.
  4. Develop analytical writing skills in the field of Japanese politics through completion of written assessment tasks.
  5. Demonstrate and develop presentation and discussion skills in the field of Japanese politics through active participation in class debates and discussions.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Seminar Attendance and Participation: 10% (LO 1, 2, 5) (10) [LO null]
  2. Presentation: 10% (LO 1, 2, 5) (10) [LO null]
  3. Mid-term Essay: 20% (LO 1, 2, 3, 4) (20) [LO null]
  4. Research Essay: 30% (LO 3, 4) (30) [LO null]
  5. Final Exam: 30% (LO 1, 2, 4) (30) [LO null]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course consists of a 1.5 hour lecture and 1.5 hour seminar per week. It demands seven hours per week of independent preparation, including assigned readings, review of lectures, and written assessment tasks. The total workload for the course is 130 hours including in class time and independent study.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed 36 units of university courses. Incompatible with ASIA6031

Prescribed Texts

An electronic reading brick will be provided on Wattle.

Preliminary Reading

Yoichi Funabashi and Barack Kushner, eds. Examining Japan’s Lost Decades (London, New York.
Routledge, 2015).
Louis D. Hayes. Political Systems of East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan (New York and London: M. E.
Sharpe, 2012)
Ronald J. Hrebenar and Akira Nakamura, eds. Party Politics in Japan: Political Chaos and Stalemate in the
Twenty-First Century (New York and London: Routledge, 2015)
Chalmers Johnson. MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925-1975 (Stanford,
CA: Stanford University Press, 1982).
Jeff Kingston, ed. Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan (New York and London: Routledge, 2014)
T. J. Pempel. Regime Shift: Comparative Dynamics of the Japanese Political Economy, Cornell Studies in
Political Economy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998).
T. J. Pempel. "Between Pork and Productivity: The Collapse of the Liberal Democratic Party." Journal of
Japanese Studies (2010) no. 36 (2):227-254.
Frances M. Rosenbluth and Michael F. Thies. Japan Transformed: Political Change and Economic
Restructuring (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010).
Jacob Schlesinger. Shadow Shoguns (Stanford University Press, 1999).
Leonard J. Schoppa, ed. The Evolution of Japan’s Party System: Politics and Policy in an Era of Institutional
Change (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011).
J. A. A. Stockwin, Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Resurgent Economy (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell
Pub., 2008)

Assumed Knowledge

No prior knowledge of Japanese politics is required




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $3900
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5580
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6967 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 14 Sep 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person View

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